Hailing from Toronto, California, 8oz Soul are a band that combine the alternative-tinged stadium rock of the Foo fighters with a vocal approach more akin to that of Maynard James Keenan. The result is a set of three sparkly rock numbers that provide a fine introduction to the band and demonstrate a fair degree of promise.
The band’s strongest card is arguably Billy Burgomaster who boasts a powerful and individual voice that soars over the melodic riffs and powerhouse drumming. Clearly the band are strong musicians with Jimmy McAleer deserving particular praise for making the bass runs his own rather than just plucking away at the root note. Opening song ‘Open Water’ is a likable slab of melodic rock with just enough grit to stop it from descending the AOR path. Billy delivers a deeply impressive performance, his rich tones a powerful counterpoint to Preston St Jules’ guitar work and the track as a whole neatly underpinned by Jimmy’s excellent bass. In contrast ‘the book’ is an alt-ballad that recalls ‘Secret Samhedi’ era Live. It’s a good song, but its inclusion on a three track EP is questionable as it slows the pace further than perhaps is wise. Nonetheless, it has a strong and memorable melody and it gives way nicely to the raucous ‘Ebb and flow’, a taut rocker that gives Preston a chance to cut loose over Daniel Soerensen’s tough percussion.
Overall ‘Pollination’ is a worthy introduction to 8oz Soul and reference points such as Silverchair, Live, Pearl Jam and A perfect circle should give you an idea of where the EP flies its flag whilst the band’s musicianship is never less than impressive. There is one are of concern which is that the EP’s production simply does not live up to the band’s obvious ambition. Whilst it is clear enough and Billy’s voice carries nicely over the mix, the guitars only sparkle when they should dazzle and the bass never thunders through the mix in the way that it clearly would in the live environment. Clearly this is an issue of budgetary constraint rather than ability, but in today’s fickle, free-sample world where bands are judged almost instantly on the merest scrap of a song, 8oz Soul would certainly benefit from developing this area of their music in the future. For those looking for a quick fix of melody-rich hard rock, ‘Pollination’ is a fine EP overall and more than worth exploring and there is no question that the band have plenty of potential which will undoubtedly shine all the brighter on future endeavours.