Fly by Night - The World Is Watching EP
Record Label: unsigned
Release Date: April 2011
Here's an interesting conundrum: bands rarely come out of the gate full-formed and ready to shred some meat. It takes the magical combination of talent, support, and sheer luck for a good band to break through and become one of the best in the game. The best thing to do, then, is to keep searching for those promising sparks wherever we happen to stumble upon them.
Whatever those sparks may be, Fly By Night practically radiate them like fireworks. A relatively under-the-radar band hailing from the UK and specializing in pop-punk, they have released three EPs in only two years, and The World Is Watching, their latest, builds a strong case for why we should be keeping an eye on them until they reach their full potential.
From the guitar notes that open "Don't Blame Us When You're Famous", a sense of anticipation is immediately established, and that bravado manages to carry the opener through its first two stumbling verses. The structure is seamless, but the various bits and pieces don't mesh perfectly together, and the vocals come off as a tad too rough to harmonize perfectly with the instrumentation. The song hits its mark once we get to the bridge, however; power chords and dual vocals are briefly forgone for a brief lull before we're pounded back into blissful submission and thrown back into one last sing-along. The ending, replete with strings and whoa-oh-ohs, shows that once Fly by Night gets all the balls up into the air, they can juggle as well as anybody as else.
"The Night Is Darkest Just Before The Dawn" tweaks the band's sound ever so slightly, taking on a more sinister bent, but it's every bit as catchy as the first track. On another bright note, the vocals are a much stronger fit for the material here, and every instrument gets a turn in the spotlight (with a particularly lovely guitar solo rounding off the whole package nicely). But we've yet to reach what is perhaps the highlight of the EP: the next track, "For All It Was Worth". The opening takes its time building up to a classic pop-rock crescendo, and the track is a constant push and pull between the forces of loud and soft. The bridge deserves singling out, as it's arguably the most exhilirating moment on the EP, and what follows after is all gold. As all three (!!) vocalists join in the chorus of "I need time / I need freedom to decide / I need everything in my life / To breathe alone", you'll find yourself caterwauling right with them.
"The Critics", the final track, is a mishmash of both the sugary rush and the bitter kick that Fly by Night major in dishing out, and the results are interesting; even listening to just the lyrics, they deliver anguish and sincerity hand-in-hand. Even stranger, the juxtaposition works in the song's favor, finally showing what Fly By Night can be when they become something larger than the sum of their parts. Amidst repeated cries of "I'm gonna silence you tonight", peace is finally restored, and we can turn our stereos, mp3s, and laptops off, knowing that our band's story ends here.
In an age where we have all of the music we could ever want at our fingertips, patience has been somewhat devalued. The bar has been set impossibly high, after all, and if we have dozens of bands clearing it already, what's the use of looking for the ones that can't? Well, to that I say, wait it out and see. Fly by Night have taken a pretty impressive leap already, and even if they aren't going to clear the bar today, I have a suspicion that they'll be the ones raising it even higher in a few years.
flybynight.bandcamp.com (all of their music is FREE!)