Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Review: The Photographic "Pictures of a Changing World"

On March 11th, 2008 The Photographic released their debut album "Pictures of a Changing World." On Tuesday July 9th, 2008 I was fortunate enough to hear the track "Bridge Runs" for the first time on a local radio station. That day I sought out and purchased this album and it has remained in heavy rotation ever since. The Photographic are Jamey See Tai and Chad Blevins from Louisville, Kentucky. The duo met in 2001 through a mutual friend, started jamming together in 2002, and formed The Photographic in 2003. Originally Jamey played guitar while Chad played drums. Over time their sound has evolved to include synthesizers and guitar loops as well. The sound is so layered and full that it is hard to believe there are only two people in the band. The band already has an impressive resume having shared the stage with, among others, The Apples in Stereo, Hawthorne Heights, and VHS or Beta. They have also opened for Unwed Sailor and The Naysayer.

On first listen it would be easy to compare this album to the later work of Explosions in the Sky. However on repeated listening one discovers the little details in the sound that sets this band apart from other melodic rock bands.

The first track, "Inception", slowly meanders along and fades right into the second track, "Millie Rode to Heaven on the Back of an Orca." In this track it sounds as if a guitar is used to mimic whale sounds. It didn't stand out on first listen. I happened to be passively listening through headphones and I just picked on it. From there the album flows on. Drum beats and guitar loops are expertly merged with guitar melodies. From the drawn out synthesizer in "Lost in a Daydream" to crunchy guitar loop that fades to cleaner version on "Night Noise" the album seamlessly melds together for just under an hour taking the listener on a sonic journey. For me the stand out is a ten minute epic titled "We Were Fed Poisoned Bread," a breathtakingly complete story in melody alone. The album is a soundtrack that is waiting for an accompanying movie.

As good as the recorded music is I have heard it plays even better live. Jamey's brother Jessie does a video projection for the entire show that is supposed to really draw the audience into the music. There is enhanced content on the disc that gives a taste of the full experience and adds an additional layer to the music.

These songs will remain in my rotation for quite some time. This is a band that shows great promise and potential. This disc will definitely appeal to fans of melodic rock, but I would recommend that everyone give it a listen. The music is that good and I hope we will be hearing more from The Photographic in the years to come.

"Pictures of a Changing World" was released through Galaxia records and is available through Amazon, ITunes, and Emusic. My recommendation is to buy a copy today.

Next week I'll have a review of Matthew Sweet's new solo album, "Sunshine Lies."