The second track of Five Times August's debut album, 'Brighter Side' might as well sum up everything Brad Skistmas has experienced so far. He definitely is certainly one of music's best kept secrets and has garnered a fanbase and plays...without a record label of any kind. Talk about the DIY approach. The album, due out in stores on March 18 is a wonderful mix of acoustic pop with some folk, country, and maybe even a little hint of Fall Out Boy-like pop/punk. Think of Brad aka Five Times August as a Tyler Hilton (Brad's consistent growlwill remind new fans of Tyler...) with a little punk flair.
Like the press release says, this album isn't "two hit songs and ten other filler songs." Each song on the album carries its own weight and charm and very few musicians these days on the major labels can't totally accomplish such a feat. The album begins with the Tyler Hilton-like 'Giving It All To You' and the aforementioned track 'The Good Life.' Both songs will draw in the folksy type acoustic pop fans.
'Overrated' is the so-called song with a little punk but to this reviewer, the track fell short of what the press release says as yes it is easily the hardest track on the album, but didn't feel like this song would draw in Fall Out Boy and Panic At The Disco fans. This is definitely a song that fell short of expectations. He returns to form with the love lost anthem 'Surface.' This song is done beautifully with Brad's gravelly growl, the intricate back music, and the somewhat lilting lyrics about a girl he used to know and longs for. This song will definitely grab a large share of the female pop fans.
Brad gets real mellow and introspective in the country-tinged 'Who You Are.' Perhaps a homage to Jeff Buckley and Ryan Adams, this is probably one of the strongest tracks on the album. The lyrics and guitars drive the song and this is a must-listen track on the album as it shows off Brad's wide genres sphere and versatility.
He then gets real up-tempo in 'One Way Road', another country-tinged song. The song shows a little of the fun side of Skistmas and sort of reminds the listener of seminal bands like Phish, Hootie & The Blowfish, and Wilco...so it does show yet another facet of his musical influences.
In the up close anthem 'The Lighting,' this easily is Brad's attempt at going blue-collar and it evokes a little Bruce Springsteen of the past 10-15 years. The electric guitars are quite heavy in the song and give it the ability to really punch through the soul of the listener.
Overall the album is a very solid debut save for the one attempt at bringing a little pop/punk in 'Overrated' which just fell flat on its face since it just came across as a harder, gritty acoustic number. There is still a little of something for everyone as Five Times August takes the listener on a multi-faceted musical journey. You have a little folksy pop at the start and the end, a little blue-collar arena rock, some alt-country in the middle, and one seminal sounding number. In that end, this is a very uniquely crafted album. You are missing out if you don't at least download a song or two, if not the whole album.
Name: "Brighter Side "
Release Date: March 18, 2008
My rating: 4.6 out of 5
Alan Ho is the chief head at Musiqtone. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this feedback form below.