Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on 1FM, a Philadelphia-based band that’s just released their sophomore studio endeavor entitled ‘Wish You Well.’ The five track EP follows their debut, ‘Burning Bridges,’ which received particularly kind reviews from fans and critics alike. (Including myself.) The new effort is already available on Spotify and other services. So is it worth spending time in the new sonic pastures 1FM is exploring? Let’s dig in and find out.
When I reviewed their last EP, ‘Burning Bridges,’ I noted that 1FM will appeal most to younger audiences. They have a very Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Wombats type sound. It’s reminiscent of the kind of music that dominated the mid 2000s. The songs are danceable, often very anthemic, and typically appeal to teenagers dealing with some form of angst. ‘Wish You Well’ is definitely the same in that regard, so it’s worth prefacing that if that kind of music doesn’t appeal to you, you won’t find what you’re looking for here.
Having said that, if you’re seeking a fix of this kind of music, 1FM remains a powerful bastion for it in the independent scene. ‘Fire in the City’ embodies that aforementioned anthemic nature in a pretty bombastic, intense production. I like that 1FM is still running with their pop sensibilities - these are songs that’ll get their audiences singing along for sure. ‘Wish You Well’ is even more explosive, toying with the band’s penchant for mixing in a metal-esque sound into its songs. When the lead vocals reach their climax, they turn into a screamo-like presentation that’ll be hit-or-miss for fans.
‘A Little Bit More’ is a nicely written track, perhaps evoking some of the better lyricism of the EP. I’m not sure if any of these songs are extensively deep, but tracks like ‘A Little Bit More’ do a nice job formulating the band’s pop musings into coherent products. The relationship themes that ‘Wish You Well’ explores seem to get more fully fleshed out on ‘Another Thing’ as well, which I enjoy seeing. I want to see 1FM continue to expand the depth of their material. I think ‘Wish You Well’ is a noticeable improvement in most ways.
The finale, ‘Four Letter Word,’ is a melancholy journey about falling out love. It’s a theme that I think a lot of teenagers will really latch onto - relationships and love that haven’t panned out in an ideal way. Thus, I think ‘Wish You Well’ is very much worth tuning into for a specific audience. This is niche music; there’s no doubt about that. But it’s good for what it is, and 1FM are slowly expanding within their own sphere, which is good to see. ‘Wish You Well’ is available now!