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The Mass Media

Aural Pleasure: More Picks from This Year’s Boston Calling Music Festival

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Boston Calling Music Festival

This year’s Boston Calling Music Festival is fast approaching. This second installment of Boston’s only full-scale alternative music festival will take place on May 23, 24, and 25. As the festival dates draw nearer, be sure to catch up on or take another listen to the latest music from the performing bands. Below are album reviews for three bands that are a part of the festival’s Saturday lineup.
“I Love You.” The Neighbourhood
Hailing from Los Angeles, The Neighbourhood, also known as THE NBHD, is an alternative group that is no stranger to musical experimentation. The members of this quintet are masters at blending beats and sound effects. By doing so, they have been able to create an eclectic sound that is difficult to categorize. The band’s latest work, “I Love You.” is the group’s first full studio album after teasing fans with two previously released EPs. With its impassioned and reflective lyrics, “I Love You.” delves into the darker side of love. Moody and evocative, the album is a solid compilation of refreshingly raw tracks.
The album opens with the forceful “How.” One of the slower songs on the album, “How” gets its power from the use of steady, resonant percussion and from leader singer Jesse Rutherford’s resolute tone. The album continues with “Afraid,” an honest song about the vulnerability that often underlies ire. Though the songs on the album mainly have an electro alt-rock sound, hip-hop and R&B influences can be heard on tracks like “Let It Go” and “Female Robbery.” The definite standout track on the album is the acronymic “W.D.Y.W.F.M.?” with its hypnotically slow and seductive rhythm. The last track on the album, “Float,” features impressive compositional experimentation, especially in regards to tempo and vocal technique. Due to its lyrical content and rhythmic appeal, “I Love You.” is sure to resonate with a broad range of listeners.
“R.E.V.O.” Walk Off the Earth
It’s hard to believe that it has only been a year since Canadian alt-rock band, Walk Off the Earth, released their album “R.E.V.O.”. After gaining a large following on YouTube with uniquely spun covers of popular songs as well as their own original music, the band finally released “R.E.V.O.,” their first album on a major record label. 
The anthemic title track, “Revo” sets the tone for the rest of the album with its spirited beat and uplifting message. In terms of sound, the album has much to offer. Tracks like “Red Hands” and “Speeches” have clear country roots, while others songs including, “Sometimes” and the appropriately titled “Summer Vibe” feature hints of reggae influence. Other standout songs include the band’s delightfully minimalist cover of Belgian-Australian singer-songwriter Gotye’s smash hit “Somebody That I Used To Know.” “R.E.V.O.” closes with the fun and upbeat track “No Ulterior Motives.” After listening to this album, one can definitely say that this band has no ulterior motives and is simply focused on producing honest and organic music for fans to enjoy. 
“You Are Here,” Magic Man
Saturday at Boston Calling will wrap up with a performance by Magic Man, which is guaranteed to be a great display of fresh local talent. The Boston-based band hit the synth alt-rock scene with their hugely successful single, “Paris.” The band’s latest release is a short but satisfying 5-track EP. Each song on the album features the group’s signature synth sound as well as excellent vocals and lively beats.
The EP opens with the summery tune, “Texas,” which is immediately followed by “Paris,” a track that features synth effects layered over traditional instruments. The song’s background vocals create dimensionality, while shifts in tone and tempo produce waves of rising and falling action. Tracks “Every Day” and “Nova Scotia” follow. Both of which are up-tempo, danceable beats that showcase the band’s skillful use of the synthesizer. The band ends the EP on a strong note with the 80’s influenced track, “Waves.” The song incorporates interesting electronic effects that sound like something out of an old-school video game. Airy and fun, this sampling is sure to keep fans excitedly waiting for a full-scale album. 
All of the featured albums are available for purchase on iTunes.
Tickets to the Boston Calling Music Festival can be purchased at bostoncalling.com.