Released on December 8, 2017 (Still Warning)
I recall interviewing 21st Century Goliath frontman Tony Leone almost two years ago. Leone advised me that he needed to be inspired to write lyrics and he wasn’t feeling particularly inspired when listening to what his former bandmates were coming up with music wise towards the end of his tenure as the group’s lead vocalist. I am in the same boat when writing album and/or concert reviews. I need to be inspired by what I hear — may it be good or bad. When inspiration hits, the words come to me and flow like the water cascading down Niagara Falls. A few examples are my review of H.E.A.T‘s latest album Into The Great Unknown or my recent concert review of Last Bullet‘s final gig at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Those were simply easy to write.
I have been playing Still Warning‘s self-titled debut EP for about a month and a half now and inspiration has yet to strike me. I think it’s simply because unfortunately, there is nothing on the EP that is really getting me to take notice. It’s not that the EP is a bad one because there are some good moments on it but there’s nothing that stands out in a meaningful way. The EP does start off strongly however with a cool guitar riff on the opener “Rust.” By the time that singer Billy Bosler starts singing, my interest starts waning. It’s not that he’s a bad vocalist but his vocals are average at best. Perhaps it’s because Bosler does not seem to have that much vocal range as he seems to stay in one key throughout the entire song. The guitar work by Tony Madewell is definitely the highlight of the first track. The second song “One Twenty Seven” is more of the same. Some promising guitar riffs until Bosler starts singing. I particularly do not like what I’ll call the chorus section with Bosler singing along to a simplistic drum beat before some “Ay Ay Ay Ay” chants come along. I truly hate that part of the song, which unfortunately comes up repeatedly.
The funny thing about Still Warning‘s self-titled debut EP is that it arguably gets better towards the end. “Take This World” is a moody rocker, which works better because Bosler seemingly sings the song in a different key. “4GetMeKnot” is an alright rocker. The verses are pretty good but the chorus portion leaves to be desired. Again, everything rides on Bosler‘s vocals. If you like them, odds are that you’ll really enjoy the EP. If you’re like me, Bosler‘s singing will likely grate on your nerves. The EP closes with the best song — “Good Times” — which may well have you singing along with Bosler throughout including when he sings “Bring it. Bring on the good times.”
Overall, Still Warning‘s self-titled debut EP isn’t bad but it isn’t great either. The songs are pretty average. I think that Still Warning definitely have the potential to come up with some better songs and they should use the bright light that is Madewell‘s guitar playing as the framework going forward. I am ready to move on from Still Warning‘s debut EP and I am hope to hear some more edge to the group’s self-described “gritty blues based rock n’ roll” next time around.
02. One Twenty Seven
03. Take This World
05. Good Times
Billy Bosler – vocals
Mike Cyphers – drums
Tony Madewell – guitar
Michael Hildebrand – bass
Produced, engineered and mixed by Bruce Buktovich
Co-produced and engineered by Michael Hildebrand
Mastered by Chris Griffin
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, February 2018
Still Warning performing “Good Times” at Madlife Stage & Studios (posted on January 27, 2018):
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