My initial introduction to the band The Alternate Routes was
exquisite. Their album Sucker's Dream was a perfect sophomore
album (not counting the EP's). The quality of music was youthful and
varied. Even though there wasn't a solid thread throughout that solidified
the album, each song had its own strength to carry itself (in a good
way). So when word came down that the band was working on a new record,
This fall gets to see how the band has matured and grown on their
latest album, Lately. A selection of 14 songs that not only
show a set of skills being finely tuned but a sense of awareness to
their audience and the life movements they might be going through.
It's actually rare to have an album actually have a song titled "Intro",
but that's exactly what it has. This is the way Tim Warren
and the boys do rock. The raw knarling of a lead guitar, a delicate
ween of a blues guitar and an accompanying bass groove; no vocals,
just all-out insanity. They get you all pumped up, just to lead you
into "Carry Me Home", a song that uses the lightest guitar
plucks as a harmony element to go with the duel, almost angelic, vocals.
When the song breaks out, it busts through with solid drum beats and
an electric guitar fine tuning on the higher notes. There's a slight
feeling of overall uplifting and high energy, sort of like what you'd
get after a Coldplay or Goo Goo Dolls concert.
With the song "Stay" the tone turns almost brutally honest.
The opening riffs are bold and clearly defined, and lacking really
any additional instruments. The vocals (though with female additions)
are stripped down and straight forward. Eventually the tone lifts
slightly to a Tom Petty level, tugging at the heart strings
and coming from the gut. But all in all the song remains on the simple
side. "Kiss Me" is an extremely fun song. It's a perfect
example of taking the previous sound from the guys (say "On And
On We Whisper") and kicking up another grade. You've still got
the crazy catchy hooks, however this time they have a strong bass
and guitar line to follow. The vocals are very old school rock and
chock full of attitude. A few guitar solos come piercing through the
speakers, making for (what I can only imagine) an extremely fun to
For a favorite, the selection would have to go to "Lollapalooza".
Open porches, swaying trees and a lazy day afternoon is the perfect
setting for this song. A few guitars showcasing; one for the acoustic
solo, one for the folk-ish rhythm and yet another for bringing out
that blues ween just ever so quietly in the background (perhaps done
with a violin bow, or an actual violin?). The drummer - well he's
having fun with everything but the normal elements of his kit. A light
beat is there from the kick drum, but the key players are the sleigh
bells and a shaker. And the best part of the whole song: "Lollapalooooooooza
ready to ride/let somebody else drive" - a set of lyrics that
when sung over the acoustic guitar notes are perfection. And a set
that will get stuck in your head, so be prepared.
"Two Of A Kind" is another song that stands out and it's
possibly because of its intro. Electric guitars gradually building
intensity in the most beautiful way, leveling off with Tim's silky
voice beginning to tell a story. A rush of emotion comes with this
song the way U2 tends to evoke in their numbers. The members
on stage with their various roles in this song feel as though they're
doing a waltz around each other. No particular person taking point,
yet continuously intermixing with each other. The pitches are very
high, for everyone, but it's almost as though to lift you above the
song for a better look. The ending drops off slowly and without a
true "period" if you will. That could be in an attempt to
coerce you to hit the Repeat button.
This is a strong step in the journey of The Alternate Routes and
is an excellent example of their talent.
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