Call Security – To Whom It May Concern\
Rock music doesn’t have a lot of commercially viable modes going forward from here. Heavy metal is played out, except a smattering of nu-metal and pastiche bands like Orange Goblin or Steel Panther. Roots rock is the providence of legacy acts like Springsteen and others of his ilk or else playing to sedate, but adoring, crowds in an assortment of City Wineries. The cock rock acts of yesteryear like Zeppelin or the eighties hair metal bands could never survive in our modern societal climate. However, the airy angst rock of Coldplay and Mumford and Sons still carries enough commercial clout to delude otherwise intelligent young men into forming rock bands. Thank god for their folly. Call Security is a five piece from upstate New York who’ve adopted many of the poses of bands like the aforementioned units. It’s garnered them a win in a regional talent content and the resulting free studio time gave them the chance to assemble their first recording, To Whom It May Concern.
“Small Talk” begins things with a nice balance between rock and pop, but the instrument standing out the most is the intensely percussive piano that comes punching out of the mix. The songwriting should sound familiar to genre fans and does too little to break from cookie-cutter parts and canned choruses. The band’s innovations are few, but there’s nothing here that’s any sort of embarrassment. “Hometown Hair” is a stronger example of the band’s songwriting talents, but those skills are centered on their lyrics and melodic tastes. Otherwise, the songwriting once again feels like a progression of parts interchangeable with any number of songs from the pop guitar rock genre. “Lead Me On” is a convincing stab at rock and roll glory dispensing with the harmonies, echoes, and other production touches that contributes to the music’s identifiable sound. This stylistic shift is a welcome turn that liberates the album from growing familiarity.
“Already Gone” steers the band in yet another direction without deviating much from previous songs. The vocal melody has a little appeal, but the song takes too long to develop for its short length and never achieves the truly explosive release it seems to guarantee. The songwriting, in general, is weaker than earlier tracks and seems happy to mimic its influences without ever moving beyond them. The final song, “For the Better”, takes a well-worn phrase and manipulates it in many interesting ways. The track’s musical strength centers on how it plays as a condensed version of the preceding song while avoiding its middle of the road quality.
In some ways, To Whom It May Concern is a disappointing release. The band will frustrate some listeners with the alternating moments of startling self-confidence and inexplicable lapses of insecurity that send them scurrying for mimicry. However, it’s impossible to say this is a poor debut. Call Security bring passion and skill to their performances and enough of a personality emerges to remind us that the band, like all of us, is a work in progress.
7 out of 10 stars