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The Resonance has been gigging around in the area since 2003. Despite being a band for over a decade, the band seems to be somewhat obscure. Some bands put off cutting an album for awhile. This is probably because putting together an album often costs a decent amount of money, it’s hard work to make an album with a band and of course pulling together the material for a full length album doesn’t happen over night.
The Resonance’s debut album, “At Stone Thrown,” carries the feel of a 90s alternative rock album but exactly what part of the 90s it is pulling from comes to question. Most people into alternative rock will remember the raw musical magic from albums like Nirvana’s “Nevermind” and Smashing Pumpkins “Siamese Dream,” while this album has plenty of decent riffs it also has the feeling that it’s somehow trapped. When it comes to alternative rock, The Resonance leans towards the more restrained feel of a band like the Foo Fighters. What the band is doing is good but it could have been more and I’ll attempt to explain why I feel this way. I encourage people to listen to any and all music out of this area and it’s totally possible some people will absolutely love this album.
The band includes Dan Munthe with lead vocals and guitar, Cliff LaVigne on guitar and back up vocals, Charlie Milkey on bass and Al DeTray holding down the drums. The riffs of this album really drive it and that ends up being both a good and bad thing. The riffs in and of themselves aren’t bad but they really stick to them. There’s not a whole lot of exploration and when something does change, then they stick to that like it’s a safety zone. When they do occasionally pull out of that zone, it just feels a little off or it’s limited in some way.
On the second track, “Nothing Happens,” Munthe’s work on the vocals pulls the song along and the main riff isn’t bad, but when the chorus drops in, it falls flat. They made some good choices with the effects and production with the guitars but with certain parts, like where the chorus comes in, the distortion is hollow and starts off panned to one side then another guitar punches in soon after for what was intended to add a dramatic effect, but it already seems weird and lacking. By the time the guitar lead comes in towards the end of the song I am hoping for something that just isn’t there.
The album was mixed and mastered by the band and Ian Falgout of Dollarstore Monkey Publishing who studied music at Santa Barbara City College. With a song like “One Room Ruin” the main riff is tight and Munthe does a great job singing. The overall levels seem alright except that the mix is fairly tinny sounding. There is a guitar distortion setting that they use at times that might fly during live shows but something happened with the recording process in capturing it. When the song hits the two minute mark there’s what is a guitar lead, but I am wondering why that was the take that they kept. The end of the song blasts off dramatically but the production techniques fail to truly add the emphasis that I think they intended.
I’m going to try to wind up the nit-picking with using the track “Back Off!” as one last example. There are changes throughout the song but in each part the band locks on to that part and essentially plays the same thing. The final lead guitar riff just constantly plays the same thing over and over and it while it works, it stays safe and lacks innovation. The next track, “Eat This,” does end off with a lead that comes close to redeeming the prior track, but the pattern stays stuck close to one place and again repeats for the last few bars.
One thing I haven’t really touched on is lyrical content. The liner notes do contain lyrics, but just for four of the songs. We’re not talking Simon and Garfunkel here and at no point was I sobbing my eyes out or something, but there are some relatively good lyrics highlighted by Munthe’s powerful vocals in the material. “Tide - wash away the ages/Mountains - the beaches made of sand/Waves - like sine-circles set to motion/All that was brought to all will ever be/And then there’s me-staring at the ocean/There lies the tide to wash me clean,” goes the first verse of the song “Circles.” The album has reoccurring themes of overcoming life’s hardships. The liner notes read, “Collectively, A Stone Throw is a beginning, the end of the line, a statement of strength,, an acceptance of vulnerability, a denial of the former, a culmination of the demons within, and a simple prayer…here’s to new beginnings.”
I know this is a pretty tough review but I listened through this album over and over again like every album I review and this is what popped out at me. I’ll say this band has potential and they probably put on a good live performance, but on the other hand they’ve been around for over a decade and those things should go without saying by this point. This album had some potential but I think whatever happened with the production process really cut it down. There’s definitely a good band in there and the album has some decent aspects. Munthe’s vocals and the overall way the band works together do make up a solid rock band. The song writing and musicianship does work out in a way, I just feel it could have been something more. Friends and fans will probably be able to look past some of the stuff I’ve mentioned and enjoy this album but there were a few things I couldn’t get over.