Yet all these obstacles does not stop true ability and ambition from rising to the top. Talent is not, and has never been, enough to define an album or a career. Rather it is a combination of said musical gifts, experience, and effort invested into the musical project that will bring recognition and fame in the end. Only a musician's dedication to their sound can bring out the full potential of their message to the world. This is why She's In the Band's new EP "Better" is stepping out into the scene with two strong strides instead of a wimpy tip-toe onto YouTube.
The idea behind this EP is not new. Take the pop rock you know and love and mix in some unique instrument that most people don't associate with the genre. In this case, it is the ukulele that gets the featured instrument highlight. But what the average listener does not expect, or even suspect, is the combination of She's in the Band singer Hannah Sciurba's voice with the emotionally sparked lyrics alongside that ukulele. Sciurba's vocals are genuine and she slices and dices her way through anger, heartbreak, and validation in "Better".
This EP is the equivalent of a cliff diver, launching into the air with their arms spread wide, focusing only on the water below. Every one of the songs takes a different stance on the singer's feelings and reactions to the lyrics; there is no hiding in subtleties here. Even the song titles with, "Feels Like Home" and "Keeping the Peace", are openly honest about the song's content and general mood. It is this unapologetic stance towards her music, her emotions, or even the impression she might make that makes gives this artist her charm and power.
For those looking for the familiar ground of today's pop, "At This Moment" is the best bet for general feel and rhythm. The ukulele and drum combination at the beginning instantly catches your attention and demands repeating. The vocals in this track brings up quick comparisons to Sara Bareilles's blues-infused pop, but the rock-based middle to end let her voice stand on her own. Personally, there was no question that "Hating You is Only the First Step" was the top prize in this style varied EP. With its punk, alternative, and even folk influences combined into a single punch, She's In the Band has made its own invitation to the private party that is the music industry. The guitar riff and solo of this track complement the song's spiteful title. Even if Sciurba sang peaceful, loving lyrics over this track, the listener would only focus on the driven pace of drums and electric guitar.
This EP is refreshing in its attempt to present original material into a current scene of look and sound-alikes. Is it earth shattering and soul moving? Not yet. Hannah Sciurba is, in my opinion, just starting to show her true vocal capacities on these songs. Her voice shines on the slow, moving parts of her compositions so I would like to see more material on the "sad", but not to take away any strength of the "mad" compositions. Also, strange that I would request this, is the fact that I wish to hear an acoustic track with just the ukulele and her vocals. I can hear the ukulele, but I feel like it should be heavily featured in at least one song, since it is her strength and unique input into the pop rock genre. Finally, I hope that in the future albums, she does not lose her direct approach to emotions and direct lyrical interpretation. This, I feel, is her greatest attribute in her compositions.
These four songs are a rock-solid foundation for this up-and-coming artist, and a great hear for those listeners waiting for a new take on a familiar genre. Pick up your headphones my friends, plug in, and take a hit of this fresh ukulele rock.