After months of delays, Turn the Tide‘s breakthrough EP, Black & White, is finally here. This Rome/Syracuse area band has been slaving away with shows and recording over the last year, and are finally able to bring their sound to life on this impressive debut. Released on September 13th, the EP has already seen tremendous feedback and support from the local scene, and even a few nods from the nationals. But, does it live up to the hype that earned them the Upstate Music Award for “EP of the Year” before the record was even released? In short, yes.
Teaming up with renowned local producer Justin Spaulding at Octopus Studios, TTT have gone into the recording process with no holds barred. Everything they’ve come to be known for, from the complex rhythms, to the shredding guitars, to the alternating gorgeous and brutal vocals, they’ve brought it all to be highlighted on this EP, and have so much more in store. From the first few piano notes of the intro track, “The Armada”, you can immediately tell that this EP is about to get serious. Adding synths, pianos, bass drops, and other fun little additives, their sound is opened up like never before, and expands greatly into new creative territories, where their first single, 2012’s “Whirlpools”, seemed to fall a bit short.
The first single from the EP is “Blackjack”, a song the band has been teasing us with for months before the EP’s release to demonstrate just a hint of the musical ventures to come. Unafraid to experiment with sound effects and emotional lyrics, “Blackjack” is as catchy as it is heavy, providing something for everyone. These trends continue into the other songs, but they hardly sound reminiscent of each other. In fact, TTT have used this EP as a chance to display a few different stylistic choices, opening up their wheelhouse to hone in on one true sound in a later release.
Every song stands out in its own way, and the record is filled with highlights. Such highlights include the breakdowns of “Karmageddon”, the brutal ending of “NMO”, the chorus of “White Widow”, and the sad, atmospheric synth breakdowns of “Hour 51” displaying that there is no shortage of memorable moments. The best part is that these highlights lie within consistently good songs that are finely-crafted and take no shortcuts. Every single sound on the record is meticulously groomed, displaying the band’s talents as well as the dark atmosphere it is meant to create.
Ignore the fact that I know this band personally and have done many pieces on/interviews with them before. Ignore the fact that there is a lot of hype and buzz about them right now. Ignore everything about who they are and just listen to the music, and you will see for yourself just how powerful and beautiful this EP is. This is everything a band should want from a debut, and what every band should strive to achieve in their songwriting and production. The most exciting thing about Turn the Tide is that they’re just getting started. They have their eyes set on the long-term, and still can grow in their sound. If they already sound this good, I can’t even imagine what’s in store for us in the future.
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