Monday, June 20, 2011

March into Paris - Shield the Dilemma Album Review

For a brief period of time I was obsessed with female fronted rock bands--indie bands, metal bands, hardcore bands, rock bands--it didn't matter what type of music it was, I wanted to hear every band that had a female vocalist. I'm not sure what drove this obsession, but I did quickly grow out of it. I do still love a few female fronted bands and artists (Holy Roman Empire, Lacuna Coil, Julie Christmas, Tori Amos...), but don't necessarily have to hear every one. March Into Paris were an ok band, but as I revisited their EP I wasn't quite as impressed. The below review was originally published on April 16th, 2009.

Admit it, as much as everyone wished that the post-hardcore genre stuck to being a boys-only club, having a female presence every now and again isn’t all that bad. However, it’s easy to see how “serious” music fans (ie: hipsters and snobs) can get upset by the proliferation of crappy indie and rock bands strapping a female vocalist onto their boring, mediocre playing. It seems like since Paramore broke through to the scene mainstream, there has been a dearth of talented rock bands with female leads. It seems like for every Holy Roman Empire there are five versions of Eyes Set to Kill and Vice on Victory clogging up music sites and label rosters. Fortunately, if you dig through the garbage, you’ll occasionally run across a band like March into Paris.

The first thing you’ll notice on Shield the Dilemma are the vocals of Jennifer Valdez. Valdez has a very natural sounding (read: non-autotuned) and commanding voice that is also both oddly sensual and vulnerable. It is very reminiscent of Skin from Skunk Anansie but somewhat more restrained. Valdez and Skin both exude a sensuous tone in their singing, but it is even more evident with Valdez as she draws out her words and extends syllables to increase the moodiness of each song.

Valdez and the rest of the band have a great interplay throughout Shield the Dilemma. Combining some of the intricate playing style of modern indie bands with moments of post-hardcore and post-rock, Valdez has a very unique canvas on which to paint her vocal stylings. It’s interesting to hear the synthesizing of influences into the various songs on this EP. For example, “Moons in Twilight” has a very distinct post-rock drumming approach coupled with guitar crescendos using post-hardcore tones. On the other hand, “Along for the Ride” shows the band at their closest to jumping into truly epic, booming, smart, hard rock songwriting. The tempo is mid-paced, the vocals soaring, and the song has a ready-to-explode energetic tone throughout. The variation between songs is noticeable, but the band also manages to maintain their own identity throughout, which is something most bands have a hard time with.

Over the course of the six tracks on this EP, March into Paris show that they have what it takes to be a musical force. There are only a few rough edges that need to be polished, such as a few moments where Valdez pushes her voice just a little too far and a couple of underwhelming transitions, but once they have smoothed them out, there is no reason why the band shouldn’t be extremely successful and lauded by their peers.

1 comment:

March Into Paris said...

Hi Rick, Thanks for the updated feedback - let us know if we can send you our newest EP just released July 2011 to give you a new view of our band.

~Jenn /March Into Paris