Dear people Newborn is truly an excellent band. Unless you are deaf and have a problem with the essential fabric of rock n’ roll, you will be touched by this music. Founders Allen James and Eric Weglicki jammed together for 6 years before they finally found a bass player and drummer to play their first show as a 4-piece band in 2013.
After the usual rock n’ roll departures and arrivals the band found its final configuration when Eric switched to playing bass, Allen remained on guitar and vocals, and the two were joined by Blake Suben on drums. They have remained a 3-piece ever since. The band’s 2016 self-titled, 5-track EP, contains the acclaimed single, “Runaround”.
Reminiscent of the music that once dominated by virtue of Seattle grunge, Newborn expanded that envelope with a record that keeps all of the same raw emotion, but blended in a package that is richly layered and relentlessly up-tempo in places.
Brilliant as it is, the first single from the EP, “Runaround”, is a stunning tune, but obviously can’t entirely do justice to the complexity and brilliant playing to be heard on the rest of the tracks. I listened to this record in heavy rotation for most of the week, and it continued to give me new things to hear.
Allen James’ voice is a marvel – from somber and soulful crooning to high pitched wails, his range leaves most singers in the dust. Add insightful, heartfelt lyrics, and some fantastic guitar work to the mix, and you have one helluva EP.
Considering that the rhythm section is right up behind every move Allen makes, prompting his every nuance, it soon becomes clear that Newborn don’t quite sound like a trio, but double the number instead. Theirs is a wall of sound that is sonorous, complex, and a rich tapestry of interwoven rhythms.
At a time when most attention is being thrown towards bands that deliver cold, corporate rock, Newborn has a spirituality that will touch listeners unlike anything else in the genre right now. It is obvious that a tremendous amount of heart and feeling went into this recording, which makes me respect it even more.
My hope is that the accessible finger-snapping catchiness of the single, “Runaround”, and its trendy, heart-throbbing video clip, will lure fans in, so that they can eventually discover the marvel and intensity of songs such as “Gravity” and “Old Soul”.
This EP is a potent distillation of Newborn’s collective spirit and the trio’s ability to provide the ideal rock mood with visceral instrumentation that is both genuine and complex in its simplicity. And in between they find the time to embrace the subtle pop sensibilities that can be found on “Runaround”.