As a debut, the self-titled EP by Audiences serves to show the widely varied backgrounds of each member and is hopefully a harbinger of what is to come from the Chicago-based outfit.
The opener, “Ghosts,” begins calmly, and vocalist Billy Jesus’ voice wraps around a reverb-heavy guitar. When Jesus sings, “My hood is up, her eyes are green, the room goes Cadillac and back into neutral again,” the song seems to dissipate, only to erupt into a solo by lead guitarist Steven Kraniotis.
Billy Jesus has a rich, emotional voice. Every line sounds as if he’s been aching to say it to the world. In “I Swear,” he belts out “I swear to you, I still love you,” over guitar, waving with tremolo, and the listener is completely engulfed by that moment. Jesus is often accompanied vocally by bassist Brian Suarez, but female vocals make an entry on “Where’s that Coming From?” and they swell beautifully in a “Great Gig in the Sky” sort of way.
Guitarist Kraniotis speaks with his instrument, in his own way expressing as much pent-up emotion as Jesus. The drums, too, contribute to the EP’s variety. The drummer seems to hang in the back, but draws patience for certain parts, only accenting select edges to songs with a syncopated rim-shot beat.
Audiences is a band that shows its varying influences side by side as every jam progresses into a full song. Never anything too fancy, or horribly complicated, but a full-bodied sound that envelopes the listener.
“Midnight Hound” starts with a mellow guitar jam that the band soon fills out. In it, Jesus sings, “And outside we were on our own here searching for the manic sounds, and the moonlight lit up all around.” In much the same way, the beginning of each song seems to be probing for a certain sound and slowly, it becomes illuminated by the other members, each bringing their own vibe.
“Haunted” has a dancey, lounge-music style breakdown that comes off like a Modest Mouse track, then quickly smooths into something all its own.
Much of the album has a similar feel, and it forms a solid flow. Stylistically, Audiences shifts from one mood to another within each track. “Sisters” begins with a soft, gospelic quality, then rides off with a repetitive and hammering riff into another solo that transforms into a jam. It is a shining example of those various influences playing into each other. However, the album as a whole doesn’t seem to travel far from the starting point.
Audiences is a tight package; however, it isn’t anything terribly exciting. The members each bring their own style to the EP and the fusion of all these makes for a unique sound with a lot of gripping feel to it. As the band progresses, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them break from the simple song formats and create more incredible music.
Audience – EP Tracklist:
- “Where’s That Comin’ From?”
- “I Swear”
- “Midnight Hound”