Another alt-rock band from Baltimore, Maryland, the foursome that makes up Storm The Beaches shows everyone that they’re not like the rest. They’re not a wannabe All Time Low band or Animal Collective cover band. Storm The Beaches is ready to rock, and their debut full-length, Hemisphere, is pretty solid.
The album is lengthy at 15 songs, some of which could have been wiped out, but it’s enough music to really give listeners an idea of what Storm The Beaches is capable of. On Hemisphere, Mark Mikina (vocals/guitar), Wills Mayo (guitar), Jon Adams (bass) and David Favazza (drums) really showcase their skills collectively as a band. The lyrics are well written and thought out, some subjects more serious than others, but never depressing to actually listen to. The instrumentation sets itself apart, but sometimes gets lost in the storm that is Mikina’s voice.
The main drawback is Mikina’s vocals, which are slightly pitchy in the opening song, “The Bittersweet.” His voice sounds more altered on acoustic tracks like “This Is How We Spend Our Time.” Although his voice can be a hit or miss from track to track, when it sounds good, it shines.
“Green And Blue” has twists and shouts that are pleasing to the ears. The beginning starts off slow with a serene keyboard medley supported by lighthearted drumming that really compliments Mikina’s vocals to convey a bittersweet message about green and blue pills. “Throw away these pills/ Try to save my soul/ I feel strong enough, so bring the withdrawal on,” Mikina sings.
“Do you feel alone like I do?” Mikina asks in the next song, “Something More.” The lyrics truly speak for the song and will get under listeners’ skin with the all-too-relatable notion that, “there’s gotta be something more than this.”
“Auditory Hallucinations” is an accurate title because the song does just that—the guitar chords are almost spellbinding and paired with Mikina’s voice, the listener could most definitely drift off into a musical frenzy. “These auditory hallucinations/That I was getting from my medications/There all just memories playing back that I have had/ And I know this sounds crazy/ But when I think about this lately/ As I look back/ I wonder how I made it through that,” he sings.
“You two seem to get along/ So why don’t you just get it on?” Mikina almost hums in “Someday Came Suddenly.” It sounds awfully cheery for a pop-rock song bashing a girl who, “ someday came suddenly/ And you were fast asleep in the wrong bed.” The wittingly cynical song would have been flawless had Storm The Beaches refrained from using the line, “I guess I should have seen it when we started/ That you always liked me but you acted so retarded.” We get it, she messed with your head, but calling a girl retarded is just harsh.
Storm The Beaches redeem themselves on the next song “My Son,” an acoustic solo, and “Set Me Free,” an easy breezy song with a slight country twang to it. “Palm Reader” is edgier, with nitty-gritty picking guitars and drum clashing that could be heard for miles. Perhaps they intended on saving the best for last because “Rooftops,” “Full Circle,” and “Somewhere” are definitely the strongest tracks on the album both musically and lyrically.
Overall, Hemisphere is a jam-packed album that has so many tracks to choose from that it will wash over listeners with joy.