Featured Artist: California Wives
Forming a band from a group of individuals that have been trained in genres ranging from classical music to rock music to electronic is a difficult feat. Each style has its own strengths and complications, and attempting to fuse them together could easily turn out to be a jumbled mess. California Wives, a four piece band from Chicago, has found a way to do so seamlessly.
In playing up to the strengths of what each genre has to offer, California Wives deliver a full sound, rather than the hollow sound too many songs possess today. The result is their own unique style, different from most of what we hear attacking the radio waves. Their decision to combine vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard and synthesizers create a strong enough sound that can fill the largest of rooms, not simply because of large speakers, but because nothing is missing. The listener is able to walk away without feeling cheated or wondering what could’ve changed to make the sound better. It’s just…full.
Somehow, the group has found a way to make these instruments come together to form a classic rock style with a distortion effect. Crazy, I know. Rather than making the group’s sound too electronic, the distortion effect helps to keep a style that we’ve all grown accustomed to very current and very now. A perfect example of this can be heard in “French Words,” the second song on their most current EP. The alternative, classic rock foundation is heightened by sound distortions but still delivers a genuine sound through embracing the musicality of the other instruments.
This genuineness that can be heard in the group’s music is also evident in the way the group performs. Granted, I saw them play at a house party in Urbana, Illinois, but it has been so long since I’ve seen a group that was strictly performing to perform. There wasn’t an extravagant backdrop or flashing lights. Pyrotechnics only would’ve burned the sound absorbent mattresses lined up against the woodwork adorned walls. Rather than costume changes in between songs, they’d take a swig of their drinks and get going again.
THANK YOU. Thank you for being real and doing what you were there to do. The group was there to entertain and entertain they did. California Wives didn’t need anything but themselves, their instruments and their equipment to do so.
California Wives has successfully found a way to master a sound where old meets new. The group’s talent becomes apparent after listening to just one song. It’s musicality and production aspects (all of which were done within the group) keep things real, and are sure to leave listeners with a more than positive experience.
[Update: Head to the group's MySpace page to hear Twenty Three, their latest release!]
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Tags: Alternative, California Wives, Chicago, chicago music, Classical music, Dan Zima, electronic, Hans Michel, Jayson Kramer, Joe O'Connor, Music, Old meets new, rock music, synthesizer