Alabaster EP

Written by: PP on 10/05/2010 05:37:05

Three girls, three guys. Just to avoid those awkward third wheel moments I guess. Jokes aside, that's the composition of Seattle based Alabaster, a pop punk / power pop group attempting to follow in the footsteps of Paramore's recent mainstream success around the world. "Alabaster EP" is their sophomore EP, so we're still talking about a young, starting band with rough edges and lots of sharp corners that need honing and fine-tuning before they're ready to become a premier contender in the female fronted pop/rock genre.

Throughout the disc, it's no secret that Alabaster have been heavily inspired by the likes of Paramore and Hey Monday. They're not a direct clone though, as they like to add a little post-hardcore edge to the music through some back up screaming and darker guitar lines here and there, and in general, the melodies tend to linger at much sadder and more melancholic levels than the bright powerpop of the two aforementioned bands. I have to admit I'm not a big fan of the screams though, as it's clear that lead vocalist Shane has enough character to carry the songs on her own, especially during the two best tracks on the EP: "Moving Forward" and "In The Land Of The Wolves". These two in tracks in particular are beneficiaries of some remarkably strong chorus melodies from Shane, and they're one of the few reasons why I'm not ready to bin Alabaster as a poor man's Paramore clone just yet, despite the difficulty of shaking off that feeling throughout the record. The thing is, if you can write two tracks with melody as directly memorable as is the case, I don't see why you can't write an album's worth given enough time and money.

So even though the record feels a little inconsistent and all over the place at the moment (the pop punk meets alt rock meets quiet ballad thing they've got going on), with some adjustments and improvements something pretty decent can come out of this group, I'm sure. Especially once Shane adds depth and variety to her currently somewhat nasal delivery and the band realizes that instead of the generic screams, they should use Stayc's (Stacey?) contrasting medium range vocals a lot more. It may be a bold statement, sure, but if you ask me "In The Land Of The Wolves" is a better song than any on the newest Paramore record, taking into account that this is a self-financed, demo-ish recording instead of a 100k major label production.


Download: In The Land Of The Wolves, Moving Forward
For the fans of: Paramore
Listen: Myspace

Release date December 2009

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