February 8, 2013

"Ready To Go," by Guards

Now, as if this week's two-in-one deal from The Virginmarys wasn't exciting enough, iTunes has surprised us with a late bloomer!

The third free single of the week is a track called "Ready To Go," by a group called Guards. I tell you what, I had to hunt pretty hard to find out more about this group, and I still didn't get much. What I did find out is that Guards is the brainchild of one Richie Follin, lead guitarist and vocalist. Richie has bounced amongst indie acts since making a name for himself in his first group, Willowz, back in 2002 on the west coast. This newest project is his outlet for a decade's worth of song writing - four albums worth, he stated in an interview with his agent.

The life and times of Richie Follin were really interesting to me, so I went into this song optimistic. I was even more hopeful when the track opened up with beautiful orchestral chimes hailing the song's beginning. I stayed on board through the first verse, relishing in Richie's airy, Foster the People-esque vocals. I was so excited to hear the chorus until the electric guitar had at it. Listening to that lead guitar slide up to its pitch made my skin crawl. And it happened again. And again. And again. 

Now, there's an effect being achieved here. It is definitely intentional, generating some dissonance in the chorus, but that doesn't mean that it's good. It's like all of the discomfort of listening to a whining steel guitar but without the cheery country music to accompany it. In fact, I would swear that the lead guitar is tuned just a hair flat on purpose. Normally I would defend the artist's interpretation, praise him for embracing intentional discord, but that guitar part ruins the whole song for me. I was dreading the arrival of the second chorus just because I knew I would be stuck listening to that guitar wail away a quarter step too low.

It's really a shame, because I like everything else about this song. The chorus is powerful and anthemic, the verses intricate and pleasing to the ear. But I'll be damned before I ever listen to that guitar part again.

And so I listened to something else instead. Guards produced an EP back in 2010 available on their Bandcamp that I really enjoyed listening to - lots of electric organ a la The Doors, with a real groovy late 60s sound. 

With a heavy heart, I report that this track didn't make it on to my iPhone. All things considered, I rate this free download

2 out of 5.

No comments:

Post a Comment