Up Close and On Fire

Up Close and On Fire – Black Tie Stereo – CD Review


By CJ M.

Written By CJ M
Produced by Spitfire and Kickazz

The producers of Up Close And On Fire told me to pick three of the tracks from this week’s featured artist and write about them, and these are the three I thought stood out the most and that you’ll be hearing on this week’s episode:

Black Tie Stereo are a pop/rock band from Northeastern Pennsylvania. Their name fits their sound – polished, keyboard-driven pop rock. And there’s nothing wrong with that. They’re not on a major label… yet. But their debut mini-album sounds pretty damn ready to be on one.

 

If you overheard “Go”, the opening track of Black Tie Stereo’s self-titled mini-album, and mistook it for Maroon 5 or Justin Timberlake, it would be quite understandable. The track is ridiculously radio-friendly, not only in its upbeat composition, but in its production values, which manage to match the quality of major-label releases without being on a major label or having a major label budget.

 

The track “Avalon” is even more deceptive to the eardrum. The opening section starts off sounding like Queen with its complex piano chord sequence and Stephen Murphy’s vocal taking on a cadence not unlike Freddie Mercury’s – then switches gears on the next section of the song to throw in a bit of reggae feel. Are your ears perking up yet?

 

“Not The One” is another brain-twisting piece of ear candy. The opening piano starts to play an old-timey music-hall motif, before the full band launches into a more guitar-heavy, familiar sounding chorus — so familiar sounding to this writer that I can’t pin down who it sounds reminiscent of, no matter how many times I listened to it.

 

The band is presently in the studio as of this writing, working on a full-length LP. If they stay consistent with their songwriting and production, the album should be as much of a treat to listen to as this EP.

Here’s the podcast you can listen to their music here