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Monday, October 22, 2007

myspace band monday: ContraNova

Hey everyone, and welcome to the very first myspace band monday! Starting this week, and lasting until I get bored with it, myspace band monday is a new feature on Audio Overflow that will introduce you to some talented up and coming artists out there (on myspace).

This week, I chose to kick things off with a not-so-old friend.

ContraNova

If you think back about a month or so, then you'll remember I reviewed ContraNova's debut album, "Infinity In All Directions," and gave it a near-perfect score! It's beauty, musicianship, and storytelling are pretty much unparalleled this year, especially when you put it up against other bands on myspace. Of course, calling ContraNova a band is kind of deceptive. The only member that appears in every song is Sean Craypo, who does most of the singing, guitaring, and writing on the album. The other peripheral members are essentially just friends and family of Craypo who lend their skills when necessary. Though their role is small, it is important, as ContraNova would not be near as effective without them.

Music
The band's myspace page is pretty basic, nothing flashy at all, but it feature four of the stronger tracks from "Infinity In All Directions." If at all possible, I recommend listening to the album as a whole, but these tracks should give you a pretty good idea of what the band is capable of.

The first song listed on the band's page is "In Disguise," possibly the most upbeat song on the album. It features bouncy piano and bassoon and Sean Craypo singing, "Look over your shoulder, uncover your eyes. Around the corner, it's me in disguise." Soon after it deconstructs into something completely different, sounding unbelievably like Sufjan Stevens, complete with banjos and muted trumpets. Here, Craypo shouts "Get Up! Get Up! Show Yourself!" with about as much enthusiasm as he ever does on the album, and certainly on the myspace page. It's a wonderful song that doesn't make a lot of sense when taken out of it's place on the album, but still succeeds as a fun listen.

Song number two is "Slanted Light," arguably the strongest song on the album with really vivid imagery and a melody that you can sing along to after just a listen or two. Here Craypo (or rather, his protagonist) sings about being transported back in time and arriving back at home during his teens. He says, "I arrive to slanted light, old homework on green carpet. I'm here again. This house is smaller than I remember," and you immediately picture the scene in your mind. This happens again and again as the song continues, and it really shows Craypo's strength as a lyricist.

"Follow Through" is a song that I initially didn't give a lot of credit to, but since then it has quickly become my favorite track on the album. Craypo's lyrics are once again flawless as he sings, "I have been told God hears all my prayers. God must be lonely to listen to me." It's my favorite line on the whole album and when accented by fluttering bells and a perfect bassoon line, it really comes to life. His vocals start to wear a little thin towards the end as he enters into a falsetto tone, but the song is not really hindered by it all that much. It is a beautiful and passionate track. You may want to listen to it first.

"Andeline" is a beautiful track, and one of my favorites on the album, but when separated from the rest of the album as it is here, it really loses its power. Still, it does display some of the cooler instrumentation on the album with the addition of the haunting contrabassoon line under Craypo's voice. In fact, of all the songs on the band's myspace page, this one probably displays the group's talent the most, making it a worthy addition to the page even if the meaning of the song is entirely lost.

Verdict
ContraNova is a fantastic group who could have a bright future ahead of them if they so desire one. "Infinity In All Directions" is pretty much assured to have a spot in my Top 20 Albums of 2007, and if the world were a decent place they'd end up on even more Best Of lists. Considering that the band is not backed by a notable record label, the chances of that happening are slim. That is kind of why I chose to make them my first featured myspace band; because I want to do my part to spread the word.

Do yourself a favor. Go to ContraNova's myspace page and listen to the tracks that they have available. If you like what you hear, add them as a friend and tell your friends about them. Or better yet, pick up a copy of "Infinity In All Directions" and prepare to be moved! ContraNova is awesome, and I don't think I can say anymore without being redundant.

Links
ContraNova's MySpace Page
Buy "Infinity In All Directions" on CDBaby.com
Diabolical Genius

Do you have a band in mind for myspace band monday? Send us a tip at audiooverflow@gmail.com or by leaving a comment in this post. See you next week!

All ContraNova photos provided via myspace.com.

2 comments:

Tate said...

Well I do like myspace band monday, but I still think it should have been called Myspace Music Monday. That just has a ring to it. I am going to have to disagree with your verdict on ContraNova. His voice makes me want to stab myself in the ear. I would rather listen to Brighteyes for eight hours. Nothing against Sean Craypo but if I hear him one more time I'm going to put a bullet in my brain. I would like it if they were instrumental.

Mason said...

MMM request: Flying Machines

http://www.myspace.com/flyingmachines