Only Living Boy’s new EP Little Fish sounds like it had a tough birthing process for the Hackettstown trio. It’s been 21 months since their last release, Cool Collected Headcase, came out. Lead singer and guitarist Joe Cirotti told us that the nearly two-year gap between releases included some recording work being destroyed accidentally due to Hurricane Sandy. Little Fish certainly doesn’t sound like it’s missing anything. Its five songs are a journey through what makes the band so special to me.
The band’s amazing musical talents are evident upon closely listening to all the layers in the songs. What, on the surface, may sound like straight ahead rock reveals itself to be intricate and gorgeously complex. Spanish guitar breaks, mandolin strings, close harmony multi-track vocals, meandering bass lines and a wide variety of percussion instrumentation fill out the inner-workings of the excellent EP.
The stand out for me is title track ‘Little Fish.’ Its more melodic vocals and seemingly bottomless pool of instrumentation reward multiple listens as your ears pick apart all those beautiful layers. The ratchety percussion sound from drummer Trevor Newcomb and tight harmony vocals are my favorite sounds in this one.
The classic Only Living Boy sound starts off the EP with ‘Canary’. The up-tempo rock is tempered by a Spanish-influenced acoustic guitar break in the middle. We’ve been hearing the catchy second track, ‘Fine for Now,’ in their live shows for a few months now and it’s already one that Ed and I both can sing along to. The lyrics are very catchy.
The sinuous ‘Stars’ and six minute gorgeous closer ‘Marionette’ both have a very early-90’s grunge vibe with Eric Curley’s driving bass lines that hold Joe Cirotti’s variety of guitar styles and solos together. This is the sound that plays along the edges of Only Living Boy is what first caught my attention a few years ago. What’s kept them in a permanent slot in my daily music lineup is their insane musicality and range. Seeing them live only confirms what talented musicians they are when you see their songs come to life.
You can buy Little Fish on Bandcamp now. Check out some of their earlier releases, too, while you’re there.
Their EP release show at The Saint in Asbury Park on Saturday night had great openers, Thee Idea Men and Ether Sunday. Thee Idea Men are a blues rock band originally from New Jersey who now call Philly home.
And, Ether Sunday is a hard rock outfit that hails from Neptune.
Only Living Boy brought special guest Matt Schmidt from Quimby Mountain Band on stage for some pieces that needed some acoustic guitar. He helped play some new and old music including my favorite OLB song, ‘Bag of Bullets’. Make sure you buy this EP and check out the band the next time they’re playing near you. Their live show makes any amount of traveling worth it. I promise.
Check out all the pictures from The Saint on Saturday night:
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