Every time I hear a radio rock song I want to kick myself in the head. It’s not the arrogant personas that the musicians take on, or the tattooed up arms and shaved heads, it’s the music in general that pisses me off. I’m not one to close out any genres because there’s redeemable values in every song, but these type of tracks have less. I dare you to think of a song that you clearly have enjoyed by a band like Finger Eleven or State Of Shock. Don’t even bring up the god’s of shitty songs, Nickelback. The only redeemable value that I can think of at the moment comes from the massive cheque they’ll receive from continuous airplay. The whole sound in general just pisses me off. Is that the point? I’ve never understood how people can love the four-chord bangers that are constantly on repeat.
Although there’s less money in that genre of music right now, there’s a constant flow of musicians getting their fill on hard rock originals. A musician I was presented with recently was the Niagara, Ontario based, Anthony Botting. He goes under the name of A Book For Wanderers, and has a new spin on the hard rock genre. Although the persona doesn’t fall under the same category the music does have connections to the ill-fated style. His s/t solo debut packs in 15 songs, and is just under an hour. What I first noticed with this album is the vocals. Anthony has quite a different sound compared to other hard rockers. When I listen to this album, I’m reminded of late 90’s emo bands such as American Football or even Jawbreaker. His sound contains straight connections to radio rock, but also keeps it’s quality by not sticking to the straight 4 chord riffs and rough vocals.
While I wasn’t sold on early tracks like “Wanderer” or the laughable intro too “At Sea”, I did see something to continue the listen. It was Anthony’s vocals and power he puts into the music. As soon as “Waking Bird” hit, I knew he was on to something. The steady kick drum and the quick strumming of the acoustic guitar caught me right away. Right there I was hooked. It wasn’t until “You Killer” that I got the same feeling. The hard edged riff and back & forth drum beat kept the momentum going until the opening of my favourite track, “Lions”. The cleaner
sound of the guitar with Anthony’s droning vocal track keeps the sound fresh. The chorus has that steady 1-2-3-4 crash hit’s that I can’t get enough of.
I’m making that mistake now again. I’m claiming on song is my favourite, but then the next track comes on and I love it just as much. The mid-section to this album is exactly that. When I hear tracks like “Towns Falling Down”, it makes me smile because it shows how great local artists can be. That solo on the song is head banger worthy. It’s not the heaviest, and nowhere near the most complex, but it goes perfectly with the energy of the song. Anthony should have worked with that mentality more and he would have himself a great contender for an amazing album.
This album has some major highs and pretty deep lows. What helps the album is how it’s highs over power the lows for the most part. There’s something I just cannot get over with the tracks “The Answer” and the opening to “At Sea”. It left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. What “Waking Bird” did was wash that disgusting taste out of my mouth and I got a whole new album again. It was one that I could listen to over and over again until “The Answer” came on. Gladly, “Rooms” saves the day once again and makes this album end on a happy note. The middle tracks to this album are amazing. I’ll attempt to make sure you understand that, because there’s a handful of tracks to check out.
I’ll include A Book Of Wanderer’s soundcloud here:
Give him some love!