Upon listening to the opening of Audiences’ new album Roam, the first thought that might come through your head is that there are too many Kings of Leons in this world. It’s a true statement, sure, but take another listen—it doesn’t apply to this band and its first full-length.
Roam is a collection of passionate, lonely, and heartfelt tracks that lace through weepy distorted guitars, heavy drums, and raspy singing from frontman Billy Jesus. And while the group has established itself throughout Chicagoland, with Roam it has an appealing product for a wider audience.
Roam is a perfectly fitting title—it does a lot to imply the sentiment of the album and in many ways his it right on the head.
There is a certain wandering, airy, roadside cantina, elemental vibe to the whole work.
Yet the group’s execution and philosophy toward its own music is far from wandering; the album flows smoothly with direction and purpose, and feels both complete and on course.
As stated, Audiences’ own melodic and stylistic ebb and flow is impressive. Just the right amount of each member’s talent is placed together, where musical highlights are placed effectively, none ever overpowering where they needn’t be. “Fifty” shows the musical ability of the group with a concise and attention-grabbing rhythmic sequence and a simple yet recognizable melodic chorus.
The album’s featured track “Get Like This” is quietly jarring, summoning aura of perhaps Boy era U2, not so precisely in sound, but definitely in spirit. At its strongest, Roam’s post-rock sentiments shine through in a very Explosions in the Sky-like manner, like with the musical shift and breakdown in the middle of album highlight “Drunk Man.”
Audiences, though, flirts a little too closely to rock’s most weathered stylistic choices, including a little too much liberty with guitar flanger and reverbed, out-on-the-dusty-road solos. “Refraction” sounds like the theme song to a Miami Vice spinoff that takes place in Tucson; it’s one of the few completely disposable moments on the album. Otherwise, Audiences has created a solid, thorough collection of tracks.
Sure, there are moments when Roam may be a bit cheesy, or a bit cliché in the pseudo-vagabond way, but if you take that in with a clear heart, then Roam is actually a well-structured, sincerely delivered album.
This more conventional nod toward post-rock has largely been left out of the indie spotlight for some years now (forgive the writer for not paying attention to Mechanical Bull), but it still breathes fresh air through the headphones when a work like Roam comes through. There is definite potential for a band like Audiences and a spot there that can be filled. Audiences, in forsaking its album’s title, know exactly what it’s doing, and its brand of alternative and post-rock is headed straight to bigger things.
Audiences – Roam tracklist:
- “Get Like This”
- “We Wanted More”
- “Show of Hands”
- “Drunk Man”
- “1000 Nights”
- “Devil’s Son”