Album Review by Andy Gee at The Sound
REVIEW: THE OTHER SIDE - Can You See It Coming ALBUM
The progression that this bluesy Classic Rock band made from the first album to the second, was nothing short of amazing, and that album featured two absolutely epic pieces of 8 and 15 minutes respectively, along with tracks of a more “normal” length, all characterised by some spirited playing, the band's “garagey” production, strong flowing vocal and varied but consistent songs. Now comes the all-important third album – progression or not?
Well....it's fair to say that this time, they've got it absolutely bang on.
What they've managed to achieve over the 8 tracks on the album is distill everything that is The Other Side into tracks between 4 and 7 minutes long, so that you still get the fantastic dual guitar interplay, with loads of solos, breaks, rhythm, riff and dual leads, but this time incorporated into 8 rock solid songs with meaningful lyrics, plus a production that's their best to date by a country mile.
Things kick off with the title track, opening with a dual lead guitar riff that wouldn't have sounded out of place on any classic Thin Lizzy or Man album, backed by crisp, solid and strong work from the bass and drums. As the track surges ahead, you get lead vocals that just soar, the singer having a kind of unique, almost self-harmonising quality to what is a strong but smooth vocal yet has bite and intensity at the same time, so that the songs are always sung, never hollered, but he sings with passion and angst and, on occasion, anger, but manages at the same time to keep it restrained too. There's a neat hook as the riffing and rhythms stride out, in between which you'll hear the lead riff, overhead and then there are sections where this sizzling lead guitar just sparks with solos that are simply stunning, the overall effect being something that mixes Classic Rock and blues-rock into a wholly modern melting pot and comes out an absolute winner.
“Reap The Reward”, at a shade under 7 minutes, is the longest track on the album, and starts where “Strange Thing” on the previous album left off, only progressing from it – the initial twangy dual guitars over gently flowing rhythm section introducing a vocal that could almost be Floyd's Dave Gilmour – the closest comparison to most of the singing on this album – as them song flows like a river on a sunny day, builds from a gently lapping at the banks to streaming through the countryside, and features dual and lead guitar work that evokes memories of Floyd and Wishbone Ash, backed by a typically Floyd-like rhythmic pace, but yet again, the song's got a freshness to it, as it meanders and winds its lyrically telling song – the songs on the album are generally on the themes of modern living and the way the average person is being screwed by the system – so that as it twists and turns, climbs and dives, it's always driving onwards, in fact, to a point where you get a dual-guitar driven finale that is possibly the band's finest ever guitar-dominated outro to a song, as the fantastic guitar break and rhythmic surge, take the track to a fading conclusion.
After this, “Foolish” just erupts into view with dramatic rhythm section work, searing heat riffs, the Gilmour-esque vocals at the top of their tree as the singer really lets loose over the expansive riffing, and in true fashion, there's a guitar break that shines like the sun and even this then moves into a section that sounds like there's about 4 guitar players on the go at once, a cauldron of riffs, leads, rhythms and sizzling solos all at the same time, leaving you not only in awe at the song, and at the incendiary guitar work, but that it's definitely the most memorable and commercially sound track that the band have come up with to date – simply stunning.
The 4 minute “What” has this staccato mix of rhythm section and riffing heralds a vocal that snaps and bites its lyrics with authority as the snake-like lead riff veers to and fro, the pace urgent, the vocals angry, the guitars swarming like angry wasps, all rushing headlong to a molten guitar break of brilliant brevity, before it's back to the song, then even more solar flares from the two guitar players – and the even more incredible thing of which you're now aware, is just how much the band can fit in to just 4 minutes, a trademark and a testament to the success of the writing and arranging on this album.
“The Silence” begins at a slower yet no less deliberate pace, almost a return to their bluesier roots, with swaying, scything guitars riffing away, the rhythm section underpinning the song with conviction and crunch – and, again, the production on this album really brings out the best in that bassist and drummer's solid performances throughout – so that the song flows, veering back and forth between that and the cutting lead guitar breaks that rise out of the impassioned singing, on yet another gem.
“The Arena” pumps and pummels its rhythm and riff-laden way into your heart, this time the angry yet harmonic vocals having an altogether slightly darker feel to them, as more scorching guitar work punctuates the song, with riffing undercurrents filling out the sound superbly, again, a trademark of the band's sound throughout. More guitar work flies through the airwaves from the two players and it's as solid and dependable as the foundations of a house.
“Foundation Of Greed” features a spirited pace, a blaze of Lizzy-esque dual guitar riffs and leads, surging work from the rhythm section, a song that describes the dangers of the modern consumer-based age and unfair government treatment to the working man, with vocals that are full of burning passion as the heat of the song blisters and burns yet keeps you mesmerised throughout, as the riffs, leads and twin guitar work evoke classic Thin Lizzy more than at any time on the album, only harder, more expansive and with this huge sound that seems to go on for miles. Ending with another stunning guitars-driven outro that will have the hairs standing up on the back of your neck.
The album ends with “Don't Take”, a shade under four minutes, with upfront bass, surging guitar riffs, almost space-rock vocals, equally charging rhythms, but a song that's charged with emotion, fuelled by guitars, driven by drums and takes off into the stratosphere with rocket-like intensity for what is a fantastic song, almost as memorable on a commercial level as “Foolish” - the perfect closer to what's been a completely faultless album, one that any fan of vintage rock and blues-rock taken kicking and screaming into the 21st century, is going to love and relish for years to come.
Review by It's a **** thing
Traditional rock bands have always managed to weather the storm of passing trends.
Mainly because they don't mess with the template.
You can turn up at a gig any week in the last forty years in a club and find a rock band with their heads down ploughing through the same old riffs. There's nothing wrong with that.
There's a certain admirable bullish attitude being displayed as they give the punters what they want.
It's not a turn off for me, but given the choice I usually gravitate to something that leans towards throwing a spanner into the works, and that's where The Other Side come in.
With their latest album they are musically treading the same path as other bands of their ilk, but the spanner being added to the mix is in the lyrics.
Forget your damsels in distress, your fairies with boots and the space dragon.
That's not where The Other Side are coming from.
With the Tolkien fantasies cast to the side they are sharply going for the jugular and tearing the curtain down that the bankers and successive governments wish to lurk behind.
Social ills are dragged out into the light and battered senseless with the hammer of righteous rock and roll.
Midway through the album you get a distinct impression that the oft illustrated rock god that adorns many a record sleeve would perfectly suit the donning of a V for Vendetta mask.
Not a bad thing in my opinion.
Come the revolution I wouldn't mind seeing a berserker riding into battle on behalf of the people to the accompaniment of The Other Side being blasted out as the call to arms.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that the band are well worth checking out.
Especially if you are sick of the same old same old in the rock world, and equally sick of the world we are living in.
Album review by New Hellfireclub Glasgow
Artist Name: The Other Side
Album Name: Can You See It Coming?
Released: Friday March 8th 2013
Tracklist: Can You See It Coming?/Reap The Reward/Foolish/What/The Silence/The Arena/Foundation Of Greed/Don't Take
So I just got done listening to the brand new eight-song powerhouse that is Can You See It Coming?, the third album by Fife rockers The Other Side. We've played the LP's single Foolish on Hellfire's own weekly podcast a few times already and having heard the full collection - finally I might add, as I've been anticipating this album quite fervently - I can happily say the rest of the offering is of an equally high standard!
"What makes it so good?" I hear you ask. It's loud, ballsy, straight-to-the-point old time rock 'n' roll. No bullshit. No grandeur. No pretense. This band are the epitome of hard working, blue-collar everymen and you can FEEL it in every note of this superb album. Furthermore, their musicianship and grasp of this timeless, beloved craft is truly faith-restoring. With a sound, solid rhythm section, this allows the two guitarists' riff-work to rule the day and the LP contains numerous addictive hooks merged with several lengthy, expressive and satisfying periods of epically bad-ass flowing instrumentalism the likes of which a fan of [insert icon-status classic rock behemoth here] dreams. This aural assault meets its peak on the track The Arena, for me the highlight of the album.
I already knew how good these guys were live before hearing the album but now more than ever I implore you to catch them on stage! This album is tailor made for touring and these songs will blow your nuts off. Seriously. Incidentally, The Other Side have an official website at http://www.theothersidefife.com where you can keep tabs on their touring activities. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.
The lyrics I find to be both one of the album's greatest strengths and - inevitably for some - biggest faults. Though not entirely devoid of the odd moment or two of quiet subtlety and even a vague semblance of, dare I say it... romance, they consist in the main of intelligent, astute socio-political commentaries. With a decidedly leftist (some might argue radically so) bias. This will undoubtedly put those of a certain political persuasion off the band as these frank, insightful musings are both written and performed with such a hostile bluntness as to make the album impossible to listen to without taking them in. Kirby treats his lyrics and vocal work with the same drive and conviction the band as a whole applies to its straightforward musical philosophy.
While we're at it let's pick an actual lowlight. As much as it pains me to do so, I have to reluctantly name the track What as my least favourite. I find it weak when stacked up against potential modern classics like The Arena, certainly the aforesaid Foolish and Foundation Of Greed.
Overall I'm very pleased with Can You See It Coming? and it gets a full thumbs up from Hellfire. You can buy it either digitally or on CD from the above mentioned website and I thoroughly recommend it. Go see this band as soon as, also!
Below you'll find a quick interview I conducted with Kirby to go along with the review:
HELLFIRE: For newcomers to the blog who may not know of you guys, could we start with a little about the band? Such as who's who; how, when and where you formed and such like?
KIRBY: The band are Kirby – Vocals/Lead Guitar, Sned – Guitar, Pepe – Bass and Budgie – Drums. We are all from a small village in central Fife, we got together in 2009. Having known each other since childhood it is surprising that this is the first time we have all played in the same band together. We have played in various other bands with each other but not all in one line up like this.
HELLFIRE: The name of the new album is Can You See It Coming? Where did the name come from?
KIRBY: It came from the song of the same name. I am waiting, (in vain I think) for the revolution that needs to come. I can see it coming, but that is maybe only me. “Can you see it coming, when things are truly bleak” It can’t get much bleaker.
HELLFIRE: What are some of the driving themes of the album from your perspective?
KIRBY: As the main lyricist, a large portion of the songs are a protest against this manufactured austerity and economic depression we have been forced to endure. The rape of the planet and mans inability to turn from the neo liberal capitalism the whole world is forced to endure. The songs Reap the Reward, Can You See it Coming, The Arena and Foundation of Greed pretty much sum this up for me. What, is a direct attack at the con/dems. There are a couple of lighter moments on there, but still no love song.
HELLFIRE: The new album is your third - preceded by Catch The Sun and Don't Piss Down My Back (And Tell me It's Raining) - what separates Can You See It Coming? from your prior two offerings?
KIRBY: I think this one is more focused, the production is better and the music has more dynamics. The lyrics have become even more political but there are some lighter moments as well. We are all improving as musicians every year and this hopefully is reflected in the music and Production. Strangely for us most of the songs are sub 5 minutes. We all think it is the best collection of tunes so far.
HELLFIRE: What in your honest opinion is the best track on Can You See It Coming?
KIRBY: Most DJ’s so far have picked Foolish and told us it should have been a single. Sneds favourite is The Silence, I tend to move between What, Reap the Reward and Can You See It Coming. The biggest problem I have, is that I am the Engineer and Producer, so I only hear things I want to change. Usually takes me 3 months before I can listen without being over critical. Not too sure what Pepe and Budgie favour at the moment.
HELLFIRE: What's next for The Other Side?
KIRBY: Album number four, five, six, seven and more gigging. We don’t plan too much song writing wise they just appear and if we like what we hear we record it. We want to do more gigs this year than last, as we didn’t gig so much last year. I think we will also just record as we write this time and not try to record everything at the end of the year. I also think we need to do another 16 or even 20 minute song
HELLFIRE: And Finally, do you have anything you'd like to say to anyone reading this?
KIRBY: Judge the music for what it is. You have to take our lyrics at face value. Due to my lyrics we will alienate some people but that’s what I write and I don’t really care. To me a song needs to mean something, not just crap words that mean nothing. I write what I feel and to my own, not the bands, political leanings. Although we are all broadly of the same views. I am an old Anarcho-Punk and always will be, lyric wise. Musically well you decide what we are, I just call us a Rock band. I hate the whole, Post Punk, Alternative, Garage, Industrial blah blah blah. All music is Rock, therefor all music is Blues. Generic shit we don’t do.