LP Review — Filmspeed’s ‘Hexadecimal’
Bands who are just overall good people are usually the easiest to root for every step of the way as they progress. Two years ago, Punchland had the distinct pleasure of interviewing the alternative power-rock trio, Filmspeed (readers can catch that article here) and that appreciation continued onwards. Not only were the men; Craig Broomba, Nick Stout (who now has the most epic beard of all time) and former colleague James Mozina who has been replaced with the equally talented Olivier Dobrian, fun to chat with, but their passion and loving attention to their craft was apparent through and through. Luckily, the men are back at it again with the upcoming October release of their new LP, ‘Hexadecimal’. Simple put, the music is sublime and the distinct power within just hooks the listener with endless ease.
The story of ‘Hexadecimal’ and its three year creation is a long yet emotional one as Mr. Broomba so eloquently outlines with specific details. “It’s great to BE back in action! Well, the story…. WHEW, here we go! We’re looking at about a three year gap in between ‘Heavy Decibels’ (HD) and ‘Hexadecimal’ (HX)… [From there we began] working in and out of various spots with various engineers and producers. We almost had a full record, eight or nine songs done and we started chatting with some folks about putting it out. [We] kind of released one-off singles here and there while gigging around. [Eventually], we had to firmly decide whether it was gonna be an EP, or if we would go back in the studio and do more tracks to make it an LP or just do singles? We’ve learned long ago to keep plans loose, because life always changes! [On top of all that] we had a completely platonic, amicable split with Dr. Mo (James Mozina), our drummer, and he’s doing great. In fact, earlier this year, I did engineering/production work on one of his side projects… So we went back on the hunt, and lucked out through the magic of the social networks with Oliver. Oliver Dobrian is the son of two university music professors, with degrees of his own, and just so happens to idolize Keith Moon. So with THAT change happening, we had some foundational work to construct. Obviously, with a brand new third of the team, we’d also be doing some brand new recordings. Life [then] threw us some more curveballs; Nick’s father passes away, and by March of this year my Mom had also passed on. So with all THAT behind us, we’re back in studio six weeks later. That session yielded 10 tracks, leaving us 19 that were all recorded within about a year’s time. The new LP is 11 of those 19 jams.” Damn, that is a story and it has yielded some stunning results. Their dedication is admirable through thick and thin.
Despite the fact their genre is a tight mix of musicians across the world, Craig had his thoughts on it in 2017. “We were just talking about this the other day. The state of rock music is interesting. There’s definitely some quality content out there, but the heavy hitters are still dominating the mass attention spans so you’ve [got to] dig a bit to find the emerging gems. With all the clutter, we’re looking for some new ways to stand out, face paint anyone? Ha-ha! Honestly though, as much as we love to fly the Rock and Roll banner, it’s always defined by the listener and which influences they gravitate towards. Some have pointed out new wave influences, others funk, punk, soul, etc. As we get more used to the post-Spotify world, genres seem to get blurrier or ‘less important.’ At the end of the day, we don’t care if it’s 2017 or 2077, we’re just looking to get folks out to a Rock’n’Roll show. That’s where the real magic happens.”
Musically, this new release is full of surprises. “HX scores musical highlights in my book first on production. Although we’d love the gargantuan budget to hire Butch Vig, show up to the space, kill it for a few days and then the triple disc special edition vinyl releases six months later, we currently have real lives. This record was made by us and just ‘a little help from our friends.’ You can learn a lot in three years of recording, so this reflects our latest skill level, and it’s up to everyone else’s ears to judge, ha-ha! What makes us the most excited is that now we’ve pushed the boulder up and over the mountain, we get to go find a bigger mountain.”
Anthemic screams and a mesh of grinding madness is the soul of the harmonic LP. Head bangers alike will clamor to listen alongside the rock and roll fanatic. Even with the alternative sound peeking through as usual, there are some blues influences that hold sway. In tracks like, Just My Luck, listeners will hear that clearly with the bass driven thump. Of course, the screams pop in to take it to another level. Alternative-pop appears as well with a foot tapper or two. All of which are perfect for the long walks down the city streets this fall. All of the screams remain throughout and the obvious intensity of Filmspeed’s whirlwind of three years pays off. Their hit single I Feel Alright has a nice rockabilly sound to start that later shifts into their signature alternative-power feel. Vocals bring the listener back and forth between these genres into a rare special space in musical time. Once October rolls around and this LP is out in the wild, Filmspeed will be the talk of the town.
Give a listen to the single I Feel Alright below: