Bittersweet, melting-pot sounds and dance-along tales of a hopeless town
Five-piece alternative band, Unknown Report, have been making a name for themselves in and around Medway since early 2013. Michael Gadbsy (vocals), Aaron Safell (vocals, keyboard), Charlton Thornhill (guitar), David Morrad (bass) and Artur Bromfield (drummer) have demanded the attention of their audiences by playing an energetic blend of 80s alternative soft rock, funk, soul and synth rock. It seems to me that the band plays whatever the hell they like with no attempt to fit into any pre-defined genres – and I can only respect them for that.
Unknown Report’s second release Hole In The Ground, opens with “Outsider, the first single from the new EP. Drawn in by a lush, funk beat, with some seriously funky bass from David, it will become immediately apparent to listeners just how well the band members work together to create their unique sound; one that is all at once confident, dark, sensual and bittersweet – just like the man depicted in Outsider, which explores the classic theme of a lone wolf, who is lost on his shallow acquaintances. Technically impressive lead vocals from Michael Gadsby blend masculinity and confidence with an enticing vulnerability and the song would be right at home played over the climactic scene of a modern 80s inspired film, think ‘Drive’. I absolutely love it when vocals, lyrics and musicality are so assured and united in the effect that they want to achieve.
I will inevitably have to compare the vocals from Aaron in “Concrete Paradise” to George Michael (if you aren’t a fan of 80s pop you might not be the biggest fan of this song). For me this is no bad thing however and these vocals were absolutely gorgeous! Again the main appeal for me with this track is skilled musicianship from Aaron, Charlton, David and Artur (particularly emotive keyboard from Aaron) complimenting the wonderful contrast of sensitivity and strength in the vocals from both singers. “Concrete Paradise” once again treads in the darkness, telling tales of characters lost in a hopeless town. But there’s some hope in the beauty of the song and oh my word that was a sexy closing note from Gadsby – absolutely blissful!
“Let’s Not Be Heroes” sees a heavier, rockier move away from alternative pop and funk and into the territories of prog-rock. I will be honest and admit that I know little about the genre but I enjoyed this track thoroughly. The skill of each band member and their strong rapport with one another takes this away from what is usually veering on cheesy to my personal taste, to something that warrants your appreciation. It must also be said that this band is even more impressive live, and I have never been short of entranced watching Unknown Report play. Even such tracks that may not be to my personal taste are presented with such technical ability, enthusiasm and energy that you cannot help but immerse yourself into what the band is doing and to enjoy it outside of any genre constraints.
The EP ends with its title track, “Hole in the Ground.” The guitar playing from Charlton is particularly strong here and there’s another fantastic beat (reggae inspired this time) that you just need to dance along to. Once again the lyrics and vocals show this same skill that keeps drawing me back – bringing tones that are both dark and sensitive; bleak and uplifting. Unknown Report have created something special here – a strong sound and themes that are likely to appeal to a wide array of listeners through their honesty and enthusiasm and no attempt at creating a sound for pure popularity sake. I can’t wait to hear a full album!
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