Review:: The Collective and The Individual | The Elephant In The Room


The Collective & the Individual is the new full length album from The Elephant in the Room, a progressive rock/pop band from New Jersey. The 11 song album was produced by Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter. The band’s Facebook page, they list Rx Bandits and The Mars Volta as influences and it makes perfect sense. Even before seeing those bands listed I immediately made a connection to them. Each song is haunting melodic like The Mars Volta, progressive reggae rock like Rx Bandits, or a hybrid of the two. The final sound is extremely unique and works better than I could have ever imagined.

The opening track on the album, “Left in the Dark”, is an example of the aforementioned haunting melodies. The almost creepy sound when combined with the lyrics and the fantastic backing vocals makes for a great song. Songs like “Monster” and “Never Believe What You’re Told” are similar in style but different enough to where you don’t feel like they are extensions of the same track.

Then you’ve got songs like “Actions Speak Louder than Words”, “Makers Mark”, and “Sky People” which are more along the lines of the more reggae rock sound. Again though, you’re hit with some great and interesting lyrics, for example the phrase “human cybernetic mind control” is most certainly uttered in “Sky People”.

The best songs on the album are probably the ones that successfully meld the different sounds into one great sound of i’s own. Tracks like “Ghosts”, “What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You”, and “P-ts” are some of my favorites on the album and are clearly a well-executed amalgamation of the differing styles. You really do get the best of both worlds, somehow getting the darker tones with still a beat of driving reggae rock sound.

Kudos to both the band and producer for this album; they’ve put together an amazing sounding album that is clearly their own.  I could just be out of the loop, but I’ve not heard anything like this. They’ve done such a remarkable job of taking melodies and tones that can easily be combative with each other and turn them into an interesting fusion with creative and strong lyrics. This is most certainly an album that I’ll be recommending to people.

Release Date: October 29th, 2013
Rating: 4/5
Runtime: ≈41 minutes

Track List:
1. Left in the Dark
2. Monsters
3. Actions Speak Louder Than Words
4. Neither Here Nor There
5. Ghosts
6. P-ts
7. Sky People
8. Makers Mark
9. What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You
10. Never Believe What You’re Told
11. We Will Meet Again

The Elephant in the Room is:
Alfred Vitale – Vocals / Guitar
Joseph Savino Jr. – Guitar / Vocals
Greg Szaro – Drums
Jared Duncan – Bass

Written By: Mark Northern

Review:: Pineapple Grenade | Ballyhoo!


Pineapple Grenade is the latest album from Ballyhoo!, a four piece punk rock reggae band from Aberdeen, Maryland. Since I’m the guy that likes to make lots of comparisons to other artists, I’ll go ahead and do that here. The first two bands that immediately popped in my head were Sublime and Green Day, which funny enough they list as influences on their Facebook page. In addition to that, you’ll likely make connections to early 2000’s Drive-Thru Records staples Home Grown and Rx Bandits, as well as more recent bands like All Time Low. Those are some that popped in my head at least.

“No Good”, a song produced by Rome Ramirez of Sublime with Rome sounds like it could be on Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane album. That is not meant as a disparaging comment. You can always tell a band is strong when they can throw a song on an album that is different from what the rest of the album sounds like, but still fits in.

Their first single off the album, “Run”, is a fun power pop tune that is sure to be a radio hit. You can certainly hear the Green Day on this song, not as much as say “Out of my Mind”, but you won’t be able to miss it.

Looking for a crooner style song? Do you want it with some funky punk rock beats? Then you are in for a treat with “Morning Sunlight”.

I really enjoyed the album and I’m clearly not the only one. Pineapple Grenade has found itself at #180 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and #4 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. I’d say that’s not too shabby. The album has such a unique style that you could probably introduce it to fans of many different types of music and they would enjoy it. True story time. While listening to the album to prepare this review, my fiancé said “I don’t what you’re listening to, but I like it”. Sounds like a ringing endorsement to me.

Release Date:  June 25th, 2013
Rating: 4/5
Runtime: ≈43 minutes

Track List:
1.       She Wants to Destroy Me
2.       Battle Cry
3.       Take it Easy
4.       No Good
5.       Run
6.       Things We Don’t Mean
7.       Instigator
8.       Beautiful Day
9.       When They Told Me
10.   Lost at Sea
11.   Out of My Mind
12.   A Lesson in Gravity
13.   Wasting Away
14.   Morning Sunlight

Ballyhoo! is:
Howi Spangler – Vocals / Guitar
Donald Spangler – Drums
JR Gregory – Bass
Scott Vandrey – Turntables / Keys

Written By: Mark Northern