The Malta Independent 18 November 2017, Saturday

Red Electrick's new album: ‘Inside You’

Mathias Mallia Monday, 7 March 2016, 14:39 Last update: about 3 years ago

Last weekend marked the two launch dates for Red Electrick's new album, 'Inside You'. It goes to show how big a band has become in Malta when they need two consecutive release dates because the venue for the launch, the Salesians' Theatre in Sliema, isn't big enough for the attending audience. The Malta Independent on Sunday set out to try to find out why the band is such a success by listening to the album track by track.

 

Inside You

The title track of the album starts with a big organ chord which gives the song an ambient quality right off the bat. The cutting guitar riff which has become a characteristic of Red Electrick soon follows and listeners instantly know that this is definitely a REK album. The song has a very prevalent percussive element with the constant acoustic guitar in the background along with the drumming of the relatively new drummer, Robert Spiteri, who said this is one of his favourites on the album due to its power. Guitar solos seem to be making their way back onto the radio waves, and this song is certain to be a big one. It positively screams radio hit.

 

Everybody's Listening

This song is a bit like a combination of U2 and Coldplay, without the ageing or moaning. Again, the synths give an ethereal quality in the background of what is, so far, the more emotional song of the album. The music video for this song, which was released last Tuesday, is simply done and does not distract from the music. Although I probably wouldn't have chosen this as the first official single from the album, it is sure to do equally well as the title-track on Maltese radio waves. The yells during the bridge, presumably the bands' own voices, give the track a feeling of crowd participation. It will definitely be interesting to see if this will be reflected during live gigs by including the audience.

 

Young Again

I don't believe this song really needs any introduction. Released in December 2014, it can be considered the band's opus. Its grand sound is attributed to the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra who joined REK to make this song the huge success that it was. This is one of three previously released tracks on this album. Guitarist, Peter Borg, said that this still remains one of his favourites on the album.

 

Underneath the Sky

Following an orchestral song with a reggae song is a bold move, but serves as an aurally stimulating contrast between the two. I find myself swaying from side to side barely a quarter of the way through the first verse, which is a good thing if you want commercial success with this type of song. I can already see an audience dancing, as well as bassist Ivan Borg. One thing I hate about rock bands writing reggae songs is when they put on a fake accent to accommodate the genre, in this case it doesn't seem to be an issue. Well done, Matthew James Borg. A very interesting choice of sound for a guitar solo, especially since reggae guitars are not usually distorted or whammy-bar infused. Although REK cannot be called a reggae band, this is a good song.

 

How To Live

Remembering guitarist Jonas Delicata's comments about this song being "heavy but happy" I instantly smile as I start rhythmically bobbing my head up and down. Something about the slide guitar, the dynamics between the quieter verse, the big sounds of the chorus, the passionate statement made by the lyrics about "forgetting how to live", makes this song my favourite song on the album. The feverish strings before the final chorus give an air of anticipation which just keeps making this song more and more sonically dynamic as it goes along.

 

Shake

Another previously released track which drummer, Robert Spiteri, although not having been involved in its recording, called one of his favourites because of its "feel good vibe". This song could potentially be a success in places where dancing was a staple, that is, if clubs in Malta played anything other than electronic pop or reggaeton. I'm not too sure about the few weird nuances of the song because they almost sound like an afterthought to make it more interesting.

 

Lonely in the Dark

I have to be honest, when I heard the intro I thought it was a Spotify advert telling me to subscribe. That being said, once the guitars, voice and lap steel came in, I was instantly drawn in. This song was described by vocalist Matthew James Borg as his favourite in the album because it is the most honest song in the album. Written about a break up and featuring Ira Losco, you can't help but feel moved by the song if you stop and listen. Kind of like a relationship, really. The strings can be construed as cheesy, but in this case, they fit. This song will make every single listener think of the one that got away.

 

Cold as a Fever

Drums and bass really drive this song. I have a feeling this is going to be one of the most underrated songs on the album as a whole. It doesn't have the commercial pop of some of the other songs, but don't let that detract from the fact that this is a great song. Easily up there with 'How to Live' as one of my favourites. On a personal note, I'm very happy that, despite the chorus hook, this song is not called 'Because of You'.

 

Sinner

The vibe the gives me reminds me of my father's juke box filled with LPs from the 80s. In contrast to the very conventional blues licks in the verse, the chorus takes on an almost surreal approach to chord progressions and melody lines. It gives off a bit of a Jamiroquai vibe as well, or maybe that's just me. Although this one song does not a funk band make, it certainly manages to pull off that funky sound.

 

The Runaway

The third previously released song with a sound and music video that would belong on the Django Soundtrack. Just like 'Young Again', this song needs no real introduction. Its success since August 2013 speaks for itself.

 

Are You Ready for the World

The quintessential orchestral ballad which is also reminiscent of the Coldplay sound that all know and most love. Although a well-written song, I think it shall remain in the shadow of 'Young Again' purely because of the latter's huge commercial success. The solo perfectly compliments the song, tying it together much like the extended solo on 'Make Up Your Mind' which was on REK's live unplugged DVD on July 2012.

 

No One Like You

These piano chords scream Radiohead and I am instantly curious to see how it will progress. I would love for this song to make its way into a Disney film. Joseph Calleja takes this song to peaks only he can. Bravo. The military sounding snare drum at the end is making me wonder if there is a connection to the next song.

 

Cemetery of the Unknown Soldiers

This guitar sound is reminiscent of the blues guitars of the 1930s, until the intricacies of all the intertwining guitar tracks hit you. The drama implied by the title isn't necessarily reflected in the actual song, but there is just something about the whole feeling the song gives you that is still oddly appropriate. This wasn't what I was expecting as a final song on the album considering the heavy hitters in the entire album, but it was a delicate send-off that makes the listener look forward to what's coming next.

 

Red Electrick had said during the press release announcing the launch of the album last week that it took two years to finish due to a line-up change which eventually led to new possibilities in terms of style and genre. Although there were some surprises in the album, I believe there will be no doubt in anyone's mind that, upon listening to any of the songs, that this is REK. It was described by the band as everything they've been through in their musical lives, particularly in the last two years. Whatever they went through, it worked.


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