February 20, 2017

Cardinals – Aftertaste

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Cardinals is a two-piece acoustic rock outfit from Boston, MA formerly known as Tighticus Finch. Their newest EP, Aftertaste, features acoustic renditions of their earlier work with some new blood as well.

I’ve always been a fan of hearing the native accents of vocalists standing out in their work. This is incredibly apparent in the opener, “When I’m Gone” when vocalist Emily Ronna sings the second verse: “And thanks for all the funny jokes, but you should know I never laughed that hard.” It adds a dose of authenticity and allows Ronna to proudly show off her Bostonian roots. The vocals are the key element in making Cardinals work. They are at the forefront of every track and drive the rhythm and tone of each track. Her nasally delivery livens up the material and keeps the tone and lyrics focused on angst. With so many female fronted pop-punk outfits focused on replicated Hayley Williams, Ronna is channeling her inner Juliet Simms with a little of NFG’s Chad Gilbert. While there’s still some work to be done on polishing some of the higher notes, she’s on the right track. “Of Montreal” is a slow-building ballad that’s aided by a groovy electric guitar in middle act. The feverish guitars are able to craft an emotional atmosphere around Ronna as she goes all out in final. This track finds Cardinals at their most sincere. “In The Dust” is a breezy fun track that keeps the pace moving steadily. Lyrically it envelopes around the bitterness at the end of a relationship, but reminds us to focus on the power of our self esteem to get us through the rough times.

Acoustic EP’s are typically balanced between upbeat and slower tracks. Aftertaste does this, but really thrives when the energy is at full-throttle. Each track is a solid 3 minutes plus, but they never outwear their welcome, something hard to pull off acoustically. The new acoustic originals are fit for “full-band treatment” and I’m curious to see if they pull the trigger on re-working them into that format. Aftertaste knew exactly what it wanted to do and it achieved its goal. There’s plenty of fun and a dash of honesty in it for good measure. This is a band I’m excited to see make waves in the Boston scene.

Written by: Patrick Marion

Rating: 8/10

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