Honor By August – Four Sides
Honor By August, the rock quartet from Washington DC, are on the fast lane to becoming the next big band from the East Coast, and with a name that means “earning honor by doing something admirable or awe-inspiring, they have certainly given themselves a clear artistic goal, but have they achieved this goal yet?
If their EP, Four Sides, is anything to go by then the answer is: well, not quite. The fact that they have supported bands like, Imagine Dragons, Hansin, and Bon Jovi prove that they know their way around arena rock and the records opener Mad Mission can certainly attest to that. Sounding like a more relaxed, and much less smug, Fallout Boy ballad, Mad Mission is all big guitars, emotions, and sincerity, trust me these guys have got sincerity coming out of their pores, yet there is nothing in the song to distinguish them from the established Gods of soft rock.
Second track The Way You Move fairs a little better, mainly because I’m a complete sucker for any song that has a steel pedal in it. Beginning with a stirring thump of the drums, The Way You Move is a slurring ode to the nostalgia of being young. This is a song where the bands sincerity (remember they have lots of it) is actually a strength.
And then it’s downhill again with Scarecrow, a shoddy One Republic knock off that adds to the pantheon of not quite stalker songs like Every Breath You Take and One Way or Another, but unlike these examples Scarecrow deserves to be forgotten. Unlucky for Honor by August their not anywhere near edgy enough to make this song sound like anything other than an clear breach of privacy, they would do better to stand in someone else’s field.
Hey Mamma, the records closer, is by far the strongest track. It sees the band streamline their sound into a lean ballad depicting the uneasy relationship of a mother and son. The production is refreshingly less bombastic than the rest of the record and shows that Honor by August don’t fit into the Kings of Leon/Coldplay mould that they seem so desperate to emulate. Instead, as Hey Mamma’s melodies don’t always end up where you think they will, hopefully the same can be said of the band in the future.
Honor By August do have the talent to become a great band but as Four Sides proves, there is still work to be done.
Review by Kevin Boyle