Sunday, October 5, 2014
F.O.C. - Color Blind
San Antonio, TX based F.O.C. present their second independently released album, Color Blind, coming in early 2015.
F.O.C. is an interesting blend of rock music, taking influences from classic rock, 80's shred guitar, and 90's alternative and fusing it all into their own new thing. Their music wouldn't necessarily fit firmly into the classic rock genre but the influences of Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, or Van Halen can be heard throughout this six song album. With that being said, the majority of these songs harken back to the sound of the early 90's heyday for alternative rock and grunge.
The album starts on a mellow vibe, but doesn't waste anytime kicking things into high gear on "Desperation." The opening of this song reminds me of a Jimmy Paige ballad with a subtle acoustic guitar movement that leads us immediately into the meat and potatoes of F.O.C.'s sound. The song picks up with chugging electric guitar and matching bass line. This track is pretty good snap shot of what F.O.C. does well and it serves them well as the first track on the album. "Desperation" is a upbeat and catchy rock song with big vocal arrangements on the chorus and a perfectly placed guitar solo before the final chorus and verse. This is what F.O.C. is clearly setting out to create and the track is a great way to set that mood to carry us through the rest of the album.
The third track is a cover of Psychedelic Furs' "Love My Way." This is the only cover on the album but it's an excellent feel for F.O.C. The band gives an updated take on the instrumentation while still maintaining a nostalgic 80's feel. While the original song is something closer to new wave, F.O.C. takes their version about 10 years into the future losing the synth-y sounds and letting the guitars do most of the heavy lifting. When it comes to an album, I would have to say I am the most critical of cover songs, but F.O.C. soundly pulls of the cover on this album.
"Summer of No Regrets" is a great example of how F.O.C. blurs the line between classic and alternative rock. The rhythm guitar drives the song with a feel that is reminiscent of a Foo Fighters' song while the backing vocals, cascading "ahh ahhs" reminds me of something right out of a Tom Petty track. The lyrical content here is also more similar to a classic rock song than alternative.
The following song, "Sleepwalker" falls much more firmly into the alternative rock category, with a heavy, thumping bass line leading us into the song with a highly affected rhythmic guitar falling in soon after. The track reminds me of early 90's alternative rock that I love. The drum beat holds the song together as the rest of the instrumentation bounces from driving and upbeat to sparse and moody. The chorus on this song isn't quite as strong as some of the other songs on the album like "Desperation" but it still has an interesting and relevant narrative.
"Love Sex" is one of the best riff-based tracks on the album. From the very start of the song, you're pulled in by a tight and catchy riff. The lyrics are not my favorite here though, at least through the verse. The phrase "love sex letters" just feels a little forced. But the chorus is quite excellent in lyrics and performance. The outro of "Love Sex" is one of the more dynamic parts of the album with some pad synths coming in and everything just kind of spaces out for a bit. It's a great lead in to the final track "Whisky + Wine."
The band really shows us another side for the first time on "Whisky + Wine." This is the first and only time the album really slows down with a ballad-worthy composition played on the acoustic guitar. The track is mostly an outro for the album, clocking in at only about a minute and a half, but ending the album on this track is a bit of a double-edged sword. It's the first spot in the album where the music gives us some breathing room, and I feel myself waiting on the rest of the band to come in with the guitar, but it never happens. It leaves us wanting more. And that's not a bad thing. Here's to another play of Color Blind.
Stay tuned to F.O.C.'s Facebook page for more news about when their second album will be available for purchase in early 2015.