Revery’s “Firebird” is their first full-fledged effort. The Johannesburg four-piece takes the opportunity to explore every creative avenue that they come across with mixed results.
The first track is a simple atmospheric vocal piece that pushes one of Revery’s greatest strengths courtesy of the voice of Hana Mutfic. For a few seconds I’m convinced that I am listening to Sannie Fox in disguise. Her voice is both confident and soulful, a highlight from the start.
Revery’s favoured approach is a playful mix of blues-rock and funk, as is the case on ‘Keep Running’. It’s a dead ringer for Extreme’s early work that gives all four members plenty of time to show off their musicianship. Brazen ‘80s guitar runs and drum fills straight out of Van Halen’s ‘Hot For Teacher’ both serve in driving the point home so guitarists and drummers who are shredders themselves are sure to appreciate it.
The soulful voice, though incredible it may be, does not always marry well with the harder edge of the ‘80s rock aesthetic. If ‘Never Give Up’ were sung by an Axl Rose impersonator it would be just fine as a classic rock tune, but in this case it feels as if the vocal and guitar elements are constantly attempting to pull the song in different directions. This is exacerbated by instances where where the guitar and drums get trigger-happy with the lightning fast fills, leaving the listener momentarily with no clear musical lead to follow.
Things align most comfortably in the softer middle of “Firebird” where they prove themselves capable of solid ballads and greater cohesion, as is the case with ‘In the Shadows’ and ‘Seven Years’. The band seems to work together for a common cause here so it’s easier to listen to.
These are brilliant musicians all and their first effort has many enjoyable moments, but the amount of divergent ideas is a sign of a band that is still finding its feet stylistically. That’s hardly a unique story and I believe them capable of great music should they find a common direction that does justice to the exceptional vocals while still allowing them to express their abilities as musicians.
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Listen to “Firebird” below.