1980s Rock is alive and kicking in 2020 – all due to Felony Case, a five-member Rock band hailing from Ioannina, Greece.
Felony Case’s first EP to drop is entitled Strangers Give More, and what the band has so brilliantly accomplished with this EP is that they have harnessed music from distant decades and have fused them together to fashion a sound that people call “New School Old School Rock.” So, sit back, pour your favorite drink, and get ready to be surprised.
This is my review of Strangers Give More.
“Still Not Me” opens the EP powerfully passionate and quickly reminds you of what we love so much about 1980s Rock bands – that quiet power and hard melody lines all embraced by a crazy tough hook. And how can guitars be soft and sonorous at the same time? Only master musicians can accomplish this feat. The track is about surviving a complicated relationship, the lyrics sing: I stand, I fall, the wind is so cold / I'm giving up / I've just had enough / You come, you go, the end feels odd / I'm giving up / Please stop being rough. The track closes with a fantastic rock out. Take a listen and let me know.
The title track comes in breaking bricks and chewing nails as it is a percussive guitar feast on blast. The frontwoman holds her own in this leather and metal dance – singing with such attitude and sexy layers that she OWNS IT! “Strangers Give More” has a storyline is a bit of a conundrum as it presents itself as a song about letting go of love that does not reciprocate, and then on the other hand, one may think the track is about finding love elsewhere as STRANGERS give love without commitments and one can love as they choose. The lyrics sing: Always giving everything and asking nothing in return / They say [vulnerability] can be your enemy or your friend / But sometimes they all seem the same / Don't know if it's me the one to blame . . . Strangers give more, strangers give less / Tried so hard / Maybe I should have guessed / [lighting] up a spark / [lights] off again / You and me, babe / Are just like strangers / Holding you in, kicking you out / Babe I'm tired of this fooling around / This time I'm done, this time I'm out / Maybe now you'll understand that I am not your clown. Regardless, this track illustrates what the EP’s theme is resonating, and that is, love can either be a battlefield or a playground, it all depends on who is doing the loving. And to bring more excitement to the track, showing how love is so unpredictable, at the two minutes / six seconds mark, the song modulates and is so refreshing.
That is what I miss in songs today, they have lost that element of surprise that songs from the 1980s featured – splendid melody lines, modulations, FX, and introductions and outros that just leave you thinking and spellbound. This is what Felony Case is giving us with their music – the element of surprise and music with a purpose!
“Whiskey Night” features an opening that would make Slash grin – yes! a song about holding on to the night to forget the madness of the day never sound so good. What makes this third track so inviting and unforgettable is the music that is basically singing along with the front woman. Every instrument is heard – front and center. So refreshingly, at the 3 minutes / 27 second's mark, the song drops and scales back to present a more based approach, and then the song roars on. This is a great technical approach in the band’s production as opposed to keeping the song ablaze throughout the entire track – this adds texture.
The EP closes with “Let Me Go Love” a Rock power ballad that opens with serene strings and keys that dance around each other in layers. With the character of the track begging to go back to better times “when nothing was scattered,” this song is a great song to re-introduce what ballads are supposed to do – evoke, illustrate, and make the listener contemplate. The way that Faidra passionately sings this song is just beautiful and meaningful. The minimalist approach in this song’s technique was magnificent!
So the EP ends, and you are left wanting MORE, and MORE, and MORE. Right? Well, do not worry; there is more to come as the band is working on their debut album as I write this review. And even though this EP has everything that is needed to be titled a BREAKOUT EP, this is not the band’s break-out moment. Felony Case has been around for a minute. They had their beginnings in 2015, and their music, and music camaraderie illustrates how this band has had some time to polish and come up with a musical formula that will blow your minds – case in point, Strangers Give More.
For one thing, Faidra, has a signature vocal trill that is dynamic. So reminiscent of Bonnie Tyler, and so eclectically modern that she boarders Lady Gaga, Faidra’s outstanding vocal range of soprano to contralto to alto gives the audience edgy enthusiasm, spunk, and character.
And, they do not call George RIFF MASTER for nothing. Go back and listen to the EP and hear how his guitar basically ignites each track with personality and intensity.
Now, take to ear how Antonis pushes the Hard Rock influence, and how Vangelis brings the heart and soul to the music with percussions forming the bottom of every cut on the EP sounding as if they could either be wearing combat boots or soft soled sneakers – regardless, he lays that foundation that is presently appreciated. And with all this magic forming on this EP, Alexander (who can play pretty much everything) brings the keys – opening wonderful melodies that outlines the storylines.
See, the message is in the music. Felony Case is making music that is pure driven energy highlighted by nostalgia and mastery of skill. And, Strangers Give More is just the beginning.
(c) Lakisha D. Skinner