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The Governors
Monday On The Other Side EP
Politone Records


The Governors are an up and coming four piece from New York City that spend many nights polishing their craft in the dark bars and clubs of NYC. Raised on a healthy diet of rock and roll, The Governors recall a time when American rock and roll meant something, before soft shouldered pretty boys gave it a bad name. I do mean rock in the grand sense of the term-sharp melodies, a couple of hooky progressions, and a balanced presentation. Their presentation reflects back on the Seventies rock and roll that a lot of our generation grew up on. That is part of their charm, yet it does not overpower the band's songs and musicianship.

The opening track lays it all out in front of your eyes. Doesn't that rollicking keyboard track hit you right in that sweet spot? Just when you think you're having a flashback, the rest of the crew dives in and brings the sound clearly up to the modern world. The undeniable groove draws images of summer afternoons in the park, and this tune beckons to be sung. Oscar Bautista ends it with a blues-shuffle solo. This theme carries over to the next tune, "Lot To Learn." There is a definite blues influenced progression going there-that's what American rock and roll was built on. One of the strongest elements of the band is keyboardist and vocalist Vito Barbiera (don't'ya just love that name?) His chops range from Billy Joel to Steely Dan to the guy down at your little blues bar on a Thursday night. His abilities flow over piano, Wurlitzers and assorted keyboards. His voice is a smooth, yet solid rock and roll voice that skips the pretension and goes straight to the heart of the songs. The whole band comes together in a good ol' American rock and roll rave up with scurrying guitar and bubbly keyboards. A laid-back approach carries "Forgiven" along the road. There is a familiar yet progressive feeling to Barbiera's songs. One thing that the band does well is show restraint. Although everybody gets moments to lead the pack, they aren't fighting for time. That's important. You can't talk about a record like this without mentioning the rhythm section. Whether taking that loping stride of "Forgiven" or stroking "Plain" along, bassist Tim Kealey and drummer Robert Cantwell forge a steal beam of support. "Plain" ties all the elements together perfectly-moving from a textural main refrain to a powerful closing section, influences a-plenty scurry past your ears. The challenge is to pick them out of the mix.

The Governors turn in a fine start. It's clear to see how gig after gig has shaped their sound. The record sounds like a live gig, which is partially due in part to Ollie Straus' production. Don't expect to hear an overblown seventies rock record here. What this EP offers you is a solid collection of songs that give a hint of the good old days of American rock. Solid songwriting is the key, and no matter what "style" these songs were played in, the tunes would still be strong. This is a promising debut from a hard-working band. More power to them.

-tom topkoff

Track Listing:
1. Mr. Patience (Monday On The Other Side)
2. Lot To Learn
3. Forgiven
4. Plain
5. Lot To Learn (Radio Cut)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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