Hearing Aide: Noon Fifteen ‘At the Festival’

Ithaca, NY based progressive soul band, Noon Fifteen is set to release its epic prog-pop suite, At the Festival, Halloween weekend. Packing a punch in its 22 minute run-time, the album is a brilliantly-efficient storyteller.

The members here are key to its delivery, starting with Mandy Goldman on vocals, whose dynamic range and myriad styles power this piece. Rounding out Noon Fifteen are: Samuel B. Lupowitz (keyboards & vocals), Joe Massa (guitars), Harry Nichols (bass, percussion, & vocals), and Phil Shay (drums & vocals).  Joining the band on this outing is Chris Ploss, not only on percussion and vocals, but he also recorded and mixed the album at Sunwood Recording in Trumansburg, NY.

At the Festival explores the mood of Hero, the protagonist of the piece, as he contemplates the state of his life – past and present. Wondering where the time has gone and trying to truly feel his emotions, Hero conversely numbs himself with liquor and pills. It is this internal struggle that underlies the entire mini-rock opera.

The alternate musical styles of At the Festival drive the narrative through the album. The band shines here moving effortlessly between pop soul sounds, prog rock riffs and sonically soaring movements. The free, yet vocally stunning “Wandering” showcases the beautiful harmonies this group can deliver, and simultaneously offers a small respite to Hero. As the story works to conclusion, it is apparent that Hero’s struggle is not over as he is battered by mourning and lost love in “Rock Bottom” and he defiantly disavows everyone in “My Ghost.”

Well-crafted and performed, At the Festival is a testament to Noon Fifteen’s willingness to explore and grow musically. This is an effort to be cheered.

Key Tracks:  Time for Me, Rock Bottom, My Ghost

Join Noon Fifteen for their album release party at The Range in Ithaca on Saturday, November 2.

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