Now and again, Twitter has its uses. Namely, stumbling across great bands by mistake. I happened to be scrolling through my news feed one day, when I saw someone I follow tweeting a band named HashTagAlice. That name was too cool for me to ignore, so I took a chance and looked them up on Reverbnation. I was instantly intrigued, so when they put the call out for people to review their upcoming album, Evolved, I leapt at the chance!
HashTag Alice is made up of Amalia May, Ben Linus (no, not the guy from Lost, he is WAY nicer!), Tom Worth, and Richard Mason-Jones. They come from Oxford, UK, and after just two years on the scene, they are already starting to get noticed - especially in the U.S where they will be heading out on tour next month (Check the dates in the Reverbnation link above).
So... is Evolved worth listening to?
Well, it's quite unusual for me to love an album on the first listen, but that's what happened here. My first impression was that this is music you can listen to anytime, anywhere. You wanna take it on a roadtrip? Hell yes. You want motivation to do something? This will get you moving. You want something you can play in the background while you chill out? It works for that, too.
HashTag Alice rock hard, but not so hard you'll have the neighbours begging you to turn it down. More likely, you'll have them shouting over the fence, "Hey, who's that band you're playing?"
What makes these guys so interesting is their sound. I wouldn't say it's absolutely unique, but they have reached a stage where you could easily identify their songs if they played on the radio - due in part to Amalia May's vocal (more about that shortly.) Think Avril Lavigne, but with more punch. That punch - I have it on good authority - comes from the varied range of ages within the band. The younger members bring current music styles, while the influence of the more mature adds a touch of classic rock. Who doesn't love a bit of classic rock?
My personal favourite tracks on Evolved are, "Piece of This,"(VERY Avril Lavigne, and maybe almost a bit of Pink thrown into the mix for good measure.), "Danger," "A Little More Time," (I really relate to it, and it's a definite earworm), "Wolves In Central Park," "Never Never," and my absolute favourite, "Ignorance Is Bliss."
Amalia May is an enormous talent. Her voice is perfect, soft but still edgy enough to work a rock vocal, and she really shines on "Ignorance Is Bliss." Amalia is exciting because I'm not sure we've even got the best of her yet. She's amazing now, and I can't wait to hear what a few more years brings out of her.
Evolved is a great introduction to what HashTagAlice can do, and this is only the beginning. Mark my words, people, these guys are going to be huge.
To pre-order Evolved, click here.