Sound: The band members still can't believe their ears when they hear The Prom Kings songs on the radio. All of them worked hard to get success and the result is evident with the rampaging first single "Alone," followed by the self-titled debut album and their rocker "Blow" appearing in DreamWorks movie The Island and the soundtrack for it. Hailing from L.A., the band itself started by the words of Chris's brother, who later served as a manager. Talking to Chris and his high school friend Luke, he said once "I don't understand why you guys won't start a band." That seemed like a "real deal" to friends and they took it serious, choosing the missing band members through an audition. From then on there are fours of them ? four creative brothers as they call themselves -- Chris Carney ? vocals, Joey Hollearn ? guitar, Mauricio Brandao- bass, Luke Pickerill ? drums. After months of restless rehearsals, the time came to sign up to a label. The band had quite a few deals from major labels, but trusted their manager Michael Caarney and singed to a new record company Three Kings, getting creative freedom in return. Therefore maybe the album turned out to be very multifarious. The first three songs sound really heavy and can be even referred to a nu-metal, but it gets milder and milder as the album goes on, ending up with a sentimental slow "The One." It's done very skilled-wise and you don't even notice the change of the style, forgetting about the "metal" part of the band by the end of the album. Through the record you can discover elements of electronic programming integrated into a hard-edged radio rock. A nice touch is the help of the orchestra instruments, which appears periodically throughout the album. Another side of this many-sided act is trip-hop flow, which is performed by a guest -? rapper the Game.
The growling sound of the guitars, turning into a furious distortion riffs is the driving assault power of the songs, contrasting with the soaring string parts on the mellow sides of the album. And the band also found place for acoustic passages -- mainly in slower songs on the album. The Prom Kings main asset is the rhythm section for sure. Months of rehearsals served it's purpose for Pickerill and Brandao -? they may be not the best bassist and drummer individually, but together they produce a very strong and powerful play, which is very important for a rock band.
The highlights of the album are hip-thrushing "Alone," infectious "Birthday" (which is a second single) and the emotional "The One," which perfectly finishes the album. // 10
Lyrics: The frontman Chris Carney is a singer, who has a very melodic and rough voice at the same time. He fills the songs with screams and soulful high crooning, in a range, that most of the singers couldn't hope to reach. The back vocals that appear in some songs sound very enjoyable. I just wish there were more of them.
The lyrics are well structured, but simple, sometimes even cheesy and stock phrased. Like that line from "Alone" -? "I checked her out, she checked me in/I'll never do that shit again." Doesn't impress me. // 8
Overall Impression: Searching through the band's website reminded me of the times, when I was kid and deeply interested in all kinds of boybands. I mean, I was looking for a band's press release and what I found was their shoes sizes, favorite American Idol contestants and sexy looks. Isn't that pop boy bands prerogative? And do they really watch American Idol? They are positioning their music as "sexy rock" -- heavy and melodic, "but groove oriented so you can dance to it." ? says Chris. To be honest, the album, which starts with an aggressive "Angels," made another impression on me and now I'm just wondering if that's the same band I'm reading about that I was listening to. The band, who's aiming to "hang out and chase chicks," as drummer Luke Pickerill says, is probably looking for teen audience, which is a bit strange to me, as the music they play can reach more serious listeners.
The guys definitely got what it takes to be a good rock band -? they are blessed with a talent for writing songs that are addictive and catchy and they are pretty good musicians themselves. I hope they'll go on for music, not for the "rockstar fame" and serve us with more good albums. // 8