There I was, in the middle of watching the season 3 première episode of BROOKLYN 9 9 when the Editor-In-Chief and the Chief Reviewer were all “Dude, you know what will be a good experience for you? Writing a review”. UURGH!!! I WANNA WATCH BROOKLYN 9 9!!!! BOO! *Throws toys out of pram*
(Editor’s Note: Umm, OK?)
So, humans, I shall be reviewing Keep Pushing Me by Plus234. Shout out to Plus234. It’s funny because Nigeria’s phone code is +234. So I’m sending a shout out to the band AND the Nation of Nigeria. HURRAH!!! Enough of my awesome hummer, sorry, “humour.”
So, yeah, when I saw that a band called Plus234 (hopefully stylized as +234), were dropping their first single, I was excited. Why? Because I felt there’s no way a band that’s creative enough to come up with a name like that can make LACKLUSTER UNDERWHELMING GARBAGE. And I was right. By that I mean the song is far from bad.
I was actually pleasantly surprised by it. It opens with some rather folk-ish percussion instruments. A much loved feature(for me anyway). So yes, off to a good start. Then lead guitars kick in, then bass, then regular drum set. Then the first verse starts. The vocals are quite nice. It’s mid pitch and a bit husky and gruff. Then the chorus comes in “You Keep pushing me away…” It would sound post grunge if the instruments weren’t so afro/folk like. I am sure that’s what the band was going for, though. And they pulled it off. The second time the chorus comes up, there’s a chant in the background IN YOROBA! That’s trippy, yo. In addition, the chorus is followed by a guitar solo. Interesting. It took me a while to notice that there was a solo. Not that it’s bad. It just didn’t grab my attention the way other parts of the song did. Then the chorus comes up again with the chant in Yoruba (lovely stuff). Then the song starts to get toned down little by little. During this toning down, a keyboard takes the place of the lead guitar. this continues till the end of the song. And boom. Song is done.
Good song. Maybe very good. However, here’s one or two things I found that kinda, well, stopped this song from being “EPICLY MINDBLOWINGLY SUPER MEGA AWESOME!!!”.
The production was not so great. By that, I mean it wasn’t all silky smooth and stuff. There was this rawness the sound had. However, even with that they still managed to use that to give Keep Pushing Me a lot of character and atmosphere. I also mentioned the solo, yeah? Yeah. Not the most memorable part of the song. Quite frankly, I’d say it was the least memorable. I didn’t even notice it for a while. A really long while. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m more used to hearing finger blistering solos in Metal than in rock. Or it could be that there was so much going on in the song instrumentally that it drowned out the solo. Or it could be something else that just didn’t strike me in the brains with a hammer.
Then there’s the main issue I have with this song! Yes, if this wasn’t such a nice melancholic listening experience, it would have ruined the song for me. One minute 55 seconds into the song, I hear a shriek or an attempt at a scream. I don’t know who did it. I don’t want to know. It just felt so out-of-place. It was like a sneeze. You know, dudes in the studio recording together then they forget to edit out the part where somebody sneezed. Yeah, that’s what that “scream” sounded like. Now, I know some peeps out there want to learn how to use harsh vocals, and I don’t blame them for wanting to put that in their songs. Harsh vocals are cool! However, they have their place, you know? Sometimes even the most Metallic of Metal heads just wants to bask in some ambiance and relax. We don’t want to hear harsh. We just wanna chill. Not saying chill and harsh can’t go together. I’ve heard bands combine Indie type stuff with harsh yells and pull it off. However, that thing, I choose to see as a sneeze. See how long I’ve been talking about the sneeze? That’s how much it wasn’t needed. SO! Please, Plus234, screams are cool, but master them before putting them in a song. Also there’s a time and a place for such vocal styles, yeah?
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from this song. Okay, that’s a lie. I expected the “usual” attempt at alternative rock. However, this, Folk Rock or in their words “Afro Alternative Rock,” is such a breath of fresh air. It felt so new. Like, the first time you travel out of Lagos and you find out that not everyone experiences such ungodly traffic EVERY-BLOODY-DAY!!! It’s one song I find myself going back to listen to now and then. If you haven’t listened to it, do yourself a favor and check it out in the link further above.
In addition, don’t let my comment on the “sneeze” get to you. It’s hardly noticeable. I had to listen to the song a lot to hear it. In fact I…No. Not gonna say it. Y’all listen to it yourselves and judge.
- Skippy Duran’s Top 12 African Rock Songs (So Far)
- Band Of The Week: A Chat With The Lovely Rasha Of Enraged Part 2