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 edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on an act based in Melbourne, the National Evening Express. The outfit has been hailed as one of the best independent rock bands in their local scene, and the group has been together now for three years. Drawing inspiration from the likes of the Ramones, The Dead Kennedy’s, and the Cramps, the group draws from both classic and contemporary influence to craft a new sound of their own.
Off the bat, the retro punk vibes flying off of the National Evening Express’ new single, ‘Energy,’ are very strong. The song is hard hitting and infectiously exciting, but also embraces a subtle usage of pop sensibility. In the late 70s when punk was fully realized by acts like the Ramones, it was a movement partially born out of the desire to move away from ostentatious genres like progressive rock. That’s why a punk song is written like a pop song, at least, instrumentally. Three loud bar chords: wham, bam, thank you ma’am. I’m certainly not discounting the Evening Express’ musical prowess, and in fact, they are immensely talented and that is exhibited. They do, however, acknowledge that lineage and style and ‘Energy’ is always rather simplistic throughout.
Lyrically, there isn’t much to write home about on the track. It’s a standard indie rock track with a handful of punk and alternative rock influences. With that said, the lead vocalist harnesses a raw power unlike anything I’ve heard from a group like this in awhile, and as a result, he’ll have you hanging on every last note. The lead guitarist is particularly exceptional as well, really searing his way through some eclectic solos without ever feeling overbearing. That subtly is an art most rock guitarists have yet to master.
The National Express have put out a wonderful new tune that is very much worth your time. ‘Energy’ is a great classic rock-tinged single chock-full of good vibes and rockable choruses. The production quality is quite good and the performances are of the utmost enjoyability as well. It’s a free download via the band’s website, so you have no excuse not to go download it and check it out for yourself.