Having had the pleasure of seeing The James Whitehouse band live I looked forward to hearing how I, Volatile would differ in sound and the most obvious difference is the vocals of Sunniva Lind.
Opening track ‘Metal Giant,’ whilst not my normal cup of tea, was certainly an interesting listen. Drawing on artists such as PJ Harvey and Skunk Anansie, it was a powerful enough offering, with dark, heavy guitars and pounding drums complementing the vocals well. I thought the bass came in a bit over the top at times, particularly around the 3.10 mark and that the slightly more whimsical middle didn’t need to be there, but these were tiny distractions to a promising start to the EP.
Second track, ‘All in the Family,’ was a more melodic offering, with the big chorus’ of a power ballad expertly played and with haunting backing vocals. To me this sounded like something evanescence would have put out, selling millions. I guess your enjoyment of this track will depend on whether you are pro or anti-evanescence.
Track 3, ‘Johnny Boy’ is a strange concoction. If I were to listen to the music alone, I can hear a lot of early Weezer influences, particularly in the guitar work of the chorus. Again the vocals bring to mind a plethora of female fronted rock bands and whilst I enjoyed it personally, if I had to detach myself and try to and put any subjectivity aside, I’m not sure the vocal delivery is unique enough to stand out on its own merit against already established artists. My knowledge of James’ voice would have suggested that it could have been used more to make a more compelling listen.
Last track, ‘Circular,’ opens up with a guitar refrain that made me think of Tenacious D’s ‘Wonderboy’ almost immediately. This is quickly brushed aside and the quite simply stunning ballad takes over. This song brings to the fore some Celtic sounding melodies that had been alluded too in the middle section of ‘Metal Giant.’ Here it was used to much greater effect and this was my favourite song of the EP.
James and Sunniva, along with the rest of the band have contrived to make a promising EP that definitely has the makings of something special and it will be interesting to see how these songs are followed up in the future. I would recommend checking I, Volatile live but for those of us not in the vicinity of Oslo, the EP is a good place to start.
liable to change rapidly and unpredictably, esp. for the worse
Within the genre of alternative rock, I, Volatile may, as the name implies, take you from one extremity to another; from angsty, aggressive insistance to soft, melancholic allure. Steering clear of trends and popular demand, the music of I, Volatile has a timeless quality to it, aiming to keep the quality high, the musicianship sharp, the melodies sophisticated and honouring the love of words.