Standing in the Queue, waiting to take a seat for a ride that resembles the wooden rollercoaster of yesteryear; a sharp contrast to the twisted steel of today's anonymous music scene.Steadily making that initial climb with "A Social Scene", Mike Willis on keyboard and Brandon Matsook's Bass are sewn together into one movement, reflected again and again through out the album. The heart rate gains momentum as we are effortlessly lifted to the top of the ride.
Launching into "I Wanna Know", Todd Knepp pounds out six strings of attitude, with Matsook and Willis bringing together a familiar feel. Think, "Sgt. Pepper's meets Stray Cats".
We really start to hear Knepp and Matsook get punchy with a lingering lead and jazzy bottom end on "Giddykick". This is also our first chance to hear drummer Mitch Thompson take control before the band decidedly changes direction. Willis assumes the lead and shows that Euphonic Brew isn't just an engine charging down the tracks. Whimsical lyrics and booty-shakin' rhythms discovered in "Delusions" promise you'll be humming that chorus the rest of the day. Willis continues with a George Harrison-like story of real life trials, a day in the life, with "Storytellers".
A brief ascent, almost out of nowhere, "Trying to See What I've Found" mixes the machine-gun leads of Ted Nugent with the smoky undertones of Dr. John's New Orleans backbone. When you "gotta have more cowbell", this song delivers!
Calming, mesmerizing lyrics found in "Saltless Tears" and "Death of a Leprechaun" gives us time to reflect upon our own lives with a swell of ivory and bass, melodically coasting up and down as the rollercoaster seems to float:
When I was young my innocence was the core of me
Now look at me, I'm lost at sea
Waiting for something to rescue me
But I'm not at home, you see; I'm not the one alone
I've lost another love but I've gained another fear to hold
What can I do, what can I do
To get back to the blank slate I had in the womb
Raw harmonies and honest themes continue through "Laissez Faire" and quickly escalate into "Love Is Animation", combining Knepp's lead, Matsook's effortless vocals, and Willis' roving piano holding our hand, leading our way.
"All Thoughts on the Table" is a tune that reflects one's beliefs in what a Jam Band can capture. Unpolished, growing on its own volition, lead guitar, cymbals, and harmonies keep moving and moving...and just when you think it's done, Euphonic Brew turns up the volume and sets it free.
Every rollercoaster ride must come to an end, but hopefully not before gripping you and pushing you into the back of your seat. "Verbal Parade" does just that with the combination of all 4 musicians, marrying an eclectic pool of piano, hidden guitar licks, trombone, harmonica, wispy flutophone, clavinet, scale-stretching bass, and a toe tapping back beat. Complexity and control are what's best with this song.
Willis' xylophone brings us back to the beginning of this ride with head-bobbing bass in
"Tale of a Man Who Can't Think". Squeaky clean vocals meld with fluid melody, pausing for one last smile, adding the first female voices on the album.
One thing is for certain, after listening to "In a Sea of Stained Glass", ask Euphonic Brew who their influences are, and you are sure to be handed a full spectrum of artists spanning decades and genres.
It will be exciting to watch these boys grow, putting mile after mile under those warn out sneakers, lyrics shaping new horizons while the foundation of Pittsburgh's Euphonic Brew seems to be unshakable.
- By E.G. Harris