After earning a significant buzz for themselves with the critically-acclaimed 4 song EP Bella released this past summer, along with career-building opening slots on recent tours with bands such as Finch, Blindside, At The Drive In, Sparta, and a spot on the ' 05 Warped Tour, Fivespeed are rising even faster than their name aptly implies.
Attributing much of their success to their musically-fertile hometown of Phoenix, the band currently stands on the springboard that could propel them into national recognition. Now, with their first major label full-length release, Morning Over Midnight [Virgin Records] on January 24th, there is a strong likelihood of that happening.
"We like playing with power, but you can't use volume to disguise a bad melody or a poorly conceived song," states Jared Woolsey, the quartet's frontman, in the band's bio. That general philosophy is evident throughout all of Morning Over Midnight's 10 tracks; unlike many of today's younger rock vocalists, Woolsey clearly knows the difference between singing and screaming; realizing that the latter is never a suitable substitute for the former.
Drawing their sound from the same creative well that bands like Breaking Benjamin, Hoobastank, and Revis drink from, Fivespeed's material has a healthy dose of both energetic, raw power and ear-pleasing melodies and harmonies. On the heavier side, the fast-paced scorcher, "Vegas," and the tight, driving force of both "Fair Trade," and the disc's first single "The Mess," give Fivespeed the chance to expose their 80's and 90's hard rock influences. Conversely, two of the strongest tracks are much lighter in nature, featuring some beautiful violin and acoustic guitar playing: "Blame It On You" is a seriously addictive, sticks-in-your-head power ballad that has definite hit potential, and "Misery Loves Company" is an appropriate disc-closer with its slower tempo and delicate instrumentation. Never allowing repetition to set in by consistently changing up rhythms and tempos, often within the same song, seems to be one of the band's favorite techniques to keep things interesting.
Overall, Morning Over Midnight may not journey into any previously unchartered territory in modern rock, but it still possesses enough razor-sharp intensity and well-crafted song structure to make it worth paying attention to. Additionally, the disc is evidence of what a band can accomplish when it puts its collective heart and soul into its work. "None of us ever gave a thought to giving up our rock and roll dreams and doing something else,” reveals Woolsey. "We have supreme confidence in ourselves and in the music we make."
And rightfully so.