Kingston, Ontario band 8-Bit Heroes have just released Try Blowing In It, a seven song EP of finely crafted and meticulously executed rock and roll. In their press materials they unabashedly stress they wanted to create something that was a throwback to simpler times; where CDs and Cassettes dominated and the world wasn't filled with a demand for instant gratification.
Well, they've not only captured the spirit of independent music beautifully with their musical style, but with their attitude as well. These guys not only recorded the album on their own, they also produce their own music videos. That's the epitome of the Do It Yourself (DIY) ethos that allowed punk to break with mainstream originally.
Now some tend to think of punk as being three chords and noise. However, all the best punk bands, from The Sex Pistol and The Clash to The Kominas (look them up if you don't know who they are) were and are far more than one note bands. 8-Bit Heroes are cut from the same cloth. Each of the seven songs on the EP have their own distinct sound and feel. Sure a couple will make you want to body surf, but you're also going to want to listen to them as well.
Lead singer Justin Holland might growl the lyrics to the songs, but he's also incredibly articulate so you have no trouble in hearing what he's singing about. Which is good because you're going to want hear what he's saying.
Take for example the fifth song, "Broken Friends". With lines like "She hides her deepest scars behind a smile and a bad tattoo" and "You've been strong for so long and the stretch carries on but you won't have to feel that pressure again/Dear broken friend I'll hold your hand to the bitter end." it takes you places your normal pop song won't even dare venture.
8-Bit Heroes are also one of those rare bands that manage to sound loose without being sloppy. Drummer Sean Davey and bassist Aidan Morris lay down a solid foundation over which guitarists Ira Smith and Matt Clarke play the well crafted melodies for each song. While they all can play hard, they also have a sure enough touch they pull back when needed to change a song's texture.
Instead of merely churning out some formulaic pop music that will get instant radio play 8-Bit Heroes have taken the time to craft pure pop punk alchemy that will make you feel a little bit better about the music industry.
(Originally posted at Blogcritics.org as Music Review: 8-Bit Heroes - Try Breathing In It)
Richard Marcus is the author of two commissioned works published by Ulysses Press, editor in the books section of Blogcritics.org and contributor at Qantara.de. He has been writing since 2005 and his work has appeared in publications all over the world including the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine.