Brooklyn brothers Ryan & Hays Holiday drop some interesting and compelling indietronica on their self-titled debut as The Epochs. Keyboardist Ryan and guitarist Hays share vocal duties, and with bassist Kevin Smith and drummer Kotchy, have delivered a colorful splash of a record (and not just with the cover art). Lappop meets seventies-cool dance beats on this varied, feel-good release.
Probably the greatest weapon in The Epochs arsenal is Ryan Holiday’s indietronic keys, which can be employed to different ends, yet don’t lose their luster. Opener “Thunder & Lightning” sees more of a pressing attack, while likely single “Love Complete” goes a nice, sharp, dance route. However, the higher “Mouths to Feed” is the should-be-single; atmospheric and enveloping, it nicely mixes high-quality indietronica, like genre hits The Postal Service, with Francophile dance grooves (like Air, or VHS or Beta).
Beats are another ace in The Epochs’ hole. All three of those tracks keep things going with catchy beats, and when things get too high on the other likely single, “Opposite Sides”, the beats are able to carry the day. Yet The Epochs are able to mix up their rhythms, such as with the slow groove of “Mister Fog” and midway tempo of the following bright echo, “Picture of the Sun”. Sometimes they get a little too inventive, like on finishers “Right On” and “Giving Tree”; “Right On” get a little all over the place in tempo (and in style), while the drumming changes a bit too much on “Giving”.
The Epochs are consistently able to mix it up on the record, and not just in speed and keys. With “Head in the Fire”, the band goes soft, acoustic, and orchestral, making it the most touching piece. “Stand Up & Be Counted” gives its seventies-cool and nice, light flow, but it’s the following “Tug of War” that truly stands out. This blues-cool number is almost R&B-like, with the best beats on the record; different, it still hooks you in.
The Epochs are a bit hard to peg, genre-wise, having opened for everybody from Tokyo Police Club to Spank Rock, and they just recently toured with indietronic-meets-indie-rock Mobius Band. But they’ve got some winning ways, and The Epochs is sure to last.