The Soundicate :: On Life

TheSoundicate-OnLifeAm I the only one who thinks it’s much too difficult to find a rock band that’s not part of the disgusting, bland, grey, mess that the American music industry has been pummelling us with for years? Good, because I found one who just might break free of that. Case in point: On Life by The Soundicate.

The Soundicate are a young, four-piece rock band from Toronto, Canada. They’ve been a band since 2010 and have an average age of just 17 years, the pure imagination of childhood still fresh in their minds.

On Life feels kind of like a ’90s alt-rock album released in 2013. In songs like ‘Run Around’ or ‘Walk On’, the power chords being blasted under the harsh, grungy vocals and saddening lyrics give it a real ’90s feel. I don’t want to say the album is generic because it really isn’t; The Soundicate does have some elements that break through that doughy mess I mentioned earlier, but it’s more than just that. I don’t quite feel that On Life is capable of scratching that repulsive tumour of an itch I call my musical taste.

The first thing I’d like to point out is The Soundicate’s drummer, Will Theriault, who is an absolute monster on the kit. The heavy hitting, beat manipulating, and the inability to calm the hell down makes Will a real sturdy backbone to The Soundicate’s . . . sound. Though it gives a strange contrast; it’s like putting a bulldozer in solitary confinement. Will could blend very well in a hard rock or even progressive rock band with the beats he plays, but when mashed in an alternative rock feel that isn’t trying to be heavy hitting, in-your-face hard rock, it just doesn’t fit.

I’m willing to overlook many flaws in the sounds coming from this album, such as the unnecessary added bits, like the bland trumpet in ‘Funk 2.0’ or the really flimsy recording (granted a musician’s budget is only so much, I’ve dealt with this problem myself) but the one overlaying flaw is The Soundicate’s inability to kick it into overdrive.

Everything’s so damn clean. There are good songs, but no parts that made my skin crawl and the hairs on my neck stand, and, for a rock band, I find it really disappointing. Some songs do start off slow and have a good payoff in the end, like the song ‘Undertone’. The acoustic start that suddenly breaks into a kind of surfer rock feel flows well, but it lacks backbone; it lacks that raw feel that might be expected from a rock band. There was a really close shred of this in ‘The Maker’ but it falls flat; it’s missing that driving, thick bass to back the thrashing guitar chords when the chorus kicks in.

What I do like about On Life is the vocal parts and the band’s general chemistry. The layered vocals in the ballad-like ‘Old Tomorrows’, or the beautiful echoes in ‘Undertone’ give a really ethereal and pretty sound. The thick, heavy distortion in the intro to ‘Carousel’ for example keeps a steady feel over the soft percussion part, which adds a nice contrast to the almost ambient feel that actually flows rather nicely with The Soundicate’s alternative feel.

To wrap it all up, The Soundicate have a great sense of direction and some truly great parts, but they just need that extra bite that makes rock and roll what it really is. There’s some great chemistry, great creativity and I urge these guys to keep going; you can only get better at such a young age, keep building that chemistry, because I can tell there’s a star dying to shine in this band.

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