Playing With Fire – To Prosper Is To Be – Review

Playing With FireThere have been so many decades over the years that have supplied us with a classic rock sound that represents that decade. The 40’s were swinging. The 50’s were rocking. The 60’s were rocking a little harder. The 70’s got a little funky. The 80’s we….oh good lord….the 80’s got a little weird but we found a way to make the synthesizer rock. And the 90’s brought us to grunge and a new era of rock music. When I listen to the band Playing With Fire, I hear the influences of all these decades blending sweetly and ringing in yet another era of rock ’n roll: The Blended Sound Era.

Playing With Fire – To Prosper Is To Be

Ok, maybe we can come up with a better name for it, but it seems more and more these days young musicians are being influenced by music from multiple generations, not just their own. It’s really fun to watch this happen more and more. With the advent of streaming music and YouTube, younger folk have easy access to all the music ever made from an early age. They get to decide what they want to listen to instead of just listening to what Casey Kasem tells them to listen to. The Blended Sound Era has arrived.

Playing With Fire carries the torch for all up and coming musicians out there. With a sound influenced by everything from Led Zepplin to Pink Floyd to Collective Soul to Caspian and a big dose of Janis Joplin from lead vocalist and lyricist Abbey Basile. This band brings forth a lot of different exciting elements from decades past but still manages to make it sound fresh and new. Formed in Worcester, MA, in 2013, PWF combines classic hard rock with beautiful ambient guitar to create their own blended sound.

Consisting of the aforementioned Abbey Basile on vocals, Carrick McCullough on guitar, Taeo Johnston on Bass, Tucker Mitchell on Keyboard and Nick Adams on Drums, all the members of the band are between the ages of 16 and 18 which makes their sound even that more impressive. The musicality and depth of all the players brags a sound you would expect to be produced by much older musicians. In a world when most teenagers just want to be no-talent YouTube stars, it’s really encouraging to see this group of young people truly dedicating themselves to their craft and learning to play real instruments the old fashion way.

Their song “Jealousy” off the band’s sophmore EP, To Prosper Is To Be, starts off with a classic guitar lick very reminiscent of the 1993 hit “Shine” by Collective Soul. But they soon show this song goes well beyond the 90’s with loud guitars full of grit, and excellent use of dynamics giving the song a lot of emotion and excitement. It’s capped off by some classic guitar breakdowns toward the end, this song just plain rocks. Abbey’s vocals gliding overtop the musical landscape are near perfect and emphasize every word she sings flawlessly. Production wise, there is a lot of great stuff happening here. The guitars hit hard but still sound very clean. The drums sound great and perfectly support the song without being overbearing. And Abbey’s vocals use a stacking technique that really make her sound bigger than life and puts the perfect exclamation point on this jam.

“Myoclonus” is another tune that truly shows off how hard the band can rock. The band has matured tons since their last release and it’s exciting to see where they are taking their sound. “Myoclonus” takes you back to the classic days when chick singers were just starting to take over the rock world. Other than a few questionable notes in the vocals, this tune is a strong representation of Playing With Fire. Check it out!

Overall, Playing With Fire is an impressive group of young musicians making a big sound. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. The band has already won multiple awards and shows no sign of slowing down. If this is a true representation of the hands we are leaving the future of music in, then I think we can all rest easy. Rock ’N Roll is going to be just fine for many decades to come.

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