Thursday, April 20, 2017

Band Review: Midnight Kicks and Prophecy of Sound

I sometimes combine bands when I have more than one that isn't giving me a lot to work with. That is the case this week, but the ways in which the bands are lacking are very different.

Obviously every band needs to make their own decisions about priorities. My advice may not be needed or welcome, and I know that.

That being said, I have reviewed over 430 bands and still counting, so I have seen some things.

Midnight Kicks is a four-piece band from Chicago with a Twitter account and a Youtube channel. That channel has three covers.

One thing I can't do is fault their musical taste. They cover Green Day and Fall Out Boy. I am not familiar with the third band, Sugarcult, but I like their version of the song.

It is enough to give me an idea of their aesthetic and their playing ability. Based on that I find Midnight Kicks likable. However, the lack of any original songs is glaring.

To be fair, there is nothing wrong with hanging around and learning to play songs together. It looks like they are having fun. Playing mainly covers doesn't even have to be a weakness, because it could work well for booking dances and corporate gigs.

Still, when bands follow me on Twitter, I assume they are trying to build their fan base, with a purpose of either touring or selling music or something like that. If that is the eventual goal, it is probably better to get some more material online before starting to follow potential fans. A lack of material makes the contact more likely to be a dead end.

If Midnight Kicks only wants to share that they play music together and you can watch the videos, that's not completely unreasonable - it's just a good idea to be clear on goals as you get set up on social media.

The band's delivery is fun. They work with a low-tech setup - two acoustic guitars, bass (electric) and percussion via box - but that should be easily portable and they bring a good energy to it.

Prophecy of Sound has a completely different issue. They are ready to sell. Their sole Facebook link is for their store, and they have a CD you can buy or download via iTunes. There is simply no way of telling if it is worth buying.

Each video is only a promo. The Soundcloud files are promos. There does not appear to be any option for hearing a complete song before spending any money.

I completely understand concerns about giving everything away, and why some artists don't want to use Spotify. I do not accept that it makes sense to be this stingy.

Even if you don't have the budget for an actual music video, it should be possible to do a lyric video - or even a simple sound file with the cover art - for at least one song, ideally three. That way it can whet the appetite of potential buyers, and give them a reason to be invested emotionally before you expect them to invest financially.

There is one Youtube video that seems to have a short segment from each song on the album. That may seem adequate, but I have been fooled by brief clips of songs that sounded good before, later to find that the rest of the song was bad enough to ruin the segment that initially attracted me.

The moody vibe that comes through from the Prophesy of Sound samples may be something that leads to a great album, but it is not enough to act on.

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