Autovein, Bullets and Bruises

Autovein, Bullets and Bruises

Just two words: “Loved it.”

St. Louis-based Autovein’s debut album, Bullets and Bruises, is the end result of a great many twists and turns of both bad record label timing and sheer fortitude in pushing forward to actually bring it about. Originally signed by Columbia Records in 2004, a restructuring at the recording giant in 2006 edged them out and eventually landed them, rather fortuitously, right in the lap of Denver-based Outlook Music, who finally got the first offering out of the can in early 2007. Ever since then, vocalist/guitarist Bryan Roach, bassist Zack Alexopulos, guitarist Chris Capaletti, and drummer Ben Miller have been racking up live shows supporting its release and have seen relative airwave successes from a couple of songs off the album. These tunes — opening track “Bullet In An Angel” and mid-collection piece “Save Me” — continue to be the forefront numbers spearheading this one-dozen-strong batch of largely Alternative Rock-sounding material.

As a whole, Bullets is a fantastic album. Autovein’s strong suit, among many other qualities, is creative versatility within their choice of genre. There are a wide variety of musical influences readily apparent from close listening to the band’s songs. Even though the lion’s share of the cuts are moderate-to-hard examples of Alternative-based rock, there is hardly any song that doesn’t also exhibit freely moving ranges that bring in some elements of progressive rock or even pop leanings. The dynamic extremes in this bundle are also quite notable. Not only are there louder and softer songs, but also a number of songs that punch-in volume-extremed passages within them. There’re very few common denominators present that would ultimately characterize or classify the band concretely. For the most part, their overall style leans heavily toward the new millennium’s melody-infused post-grunge attributes that now fuel a good many of the more mainstream alt-rock groups on the market today.

Another thing that I found fascinating about the set was its tendency toward resembling a “concept” album; haven’t really seen much of that lately. Yes, there are “bullets” and “bruises” found throughout, in ever-referenced lyrical content pointing to topics surrounding the impassioned nature of a one-way-or-another wounded — or wounding — soul.

My personal dubs from the album are “Quitter” and “Useless.” Both are set to rather unusual chorded-note flows, often with somewhat dischorded accenting, and along with their clever lyrics, they come off with some pretty hooky attraction. The latter track also stands out as an artistic odd-man-out in the set. Replace Roach’s vocals with Ty Tabor and add acoustic strums in the milder portions, and this song would sound just like King’s X, particularly the riff progression undergirding the whole thing. “Drowning” is also an excellent piece, combining some earlier post-grunge characteristics with almost punkishly repetitive, consistently pumping chord patterns. Another song worth noting for its sheer beauty is “Here With You.” It’s a very smooth, simple number, and a great break in the album’s mostly hard-driven content, especially the way the group has combined some slow-dance features with slowly drawn-out legato vocal syncopation.

At this writing, Autovein is about halfway through the recording phase of a second album at Music Creek Studios, under the co-helm of good friend and producer James “Ziggy” Stull of Saucy Jack Recordings. Though they’re presently being about as tight-lipped as a clam about the title, according to lead singer Bryan Roach the new material promises to be “a little less alternative and a little more anthemic.” It’ll be interesting to see just how far a field Autovein goes to intertwine its alt-based thematic structuring with neo-ballad building blocks. For now, I’m quite satisfied with the first prototype.

In the final analysis, if you like musical elements that weave their way around, periodically cherry-picking from styles like Nickelback, Nirvana, Bush, Green Day, or even the slightly breathy rasp utterances of Chris Cornell, then you’ll probably like this album.

BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Wednesday, July 30th, 2008. Filed under Reviews.

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