The Wedding, an alternative rock band which fuses various elements into their pop rock base, including post-grunge and ska punk, has released what could be regarded as their best effort to date with their new EP, The Sound, The Steel. Former singer Kevin Keihn recently got married and handed over the lead vocal reigns to Matt Shelton, formerly of the quirky but intense rock band LetterKills. This collection of lyrically forward ballads offers lots to desire in an EP: a mix of straight forward lyrics on a bed of varying tempos that not only impress the ear but depict certain images. In other words, there is something for everyone on this record.
"Receive" begins The Sound, The Steel EP with a "blowing" start, literally. The song begins after a train blows its whistle, perhaps signaling the coming of the new incarnation of "The Wedding." The chorus could remind one of the shouting chorus Kids in the Way maintained in a number of their earlier songs. "Return" is not only the title of the next song but also of the mission of the band, "Come back to the air waves/ burn the ashes/ raise the grave up to the sun" are lyrics that could describe the band's comeback onto the music scene, especially after they've burned the bridges of their past with former lead singer Keihn. Matt Shelton's vocal power is comparable to The Almost's Aaron Gillespie and shines to its fullest in this power ballad.
"Renew" is a piano driven piece that allows the listener to take a breath before being led into a Hawk Nelson-like style of music. Lyrics like "Not brave enough to conquer love/ But You've given me the hope to write a song," touch on some of the more intimate-with-God aspects of the album. "Reveal" is a guitar driven rock track again offering up vocal sentiments like that of Gillespie. The drive is as strong as Pillar's "For the Love of the Game" but allows more satisfaction for the headbanger in everyone. There are a couple of guitar solos which imprint along the lines of "Temptation Come My Way" by The Showdown. A brief scream ends the song, leaving the listener hungry for another rock ballad. This hunger, unfortunately, never finds satisfaction due to the last two tracks on the album lacking the energy; that's why they include a repeat feature (which will be used on not only this track, but the whole album).
"Redeem," much like "Renew," delivers with a piano based style, not unlike that used on Waking Ashland's Composure album. The chorus is catchy and will probably leave you at least humming along, long after you have turned the music off. An ending chorus of "A-oh, we are not alone" will have you feeling redeemed, if not in spirit but in musical taste. The live/acoustic take on "Receive," which is only available on the iTunes release of the EP, rounds out the already re-playable gem of an album and paints the picture of the train on the cover art. Much like a locomotive, it starts out slow, while the maracas imply the "chugga-chugga" sounds of a train, and the heavy drum beats indicate a gathering speed, perhaps as a train gains velocity on rickety tracks.
How often does a band release an EP that doesn't just give ear candy, but also music that you can depict with your imagination? The marriage between Matt Shelton and The Wedding is long overdue. Here's to the band, and the release of The Sound, The Steel!- Review date: 6/1/08, written by Jessica Gregorius
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