Meet a band that is loud, proud, and talented, and they have a great album to present to us.
Vocals – Lisa-Marie Waltz
Drums – Ben Juelg
Guitarist – Chris Bunnel
Bass – Julian Schuetze
In this magazine we have this reviews section, and we have a policy to review acts that interest us and we like, acts that we want to get behind. There is absolutely no doubt that April Art is the FULL package and I am prepared to say that Rock the Joint Magazine predicts that this band is one of our hot tips for massive success in 2023.
As I do most of the reviews here (we are a small team) I get to quickly spot great music. It doesn’t matter if it is jazz, blues, punk or (in this case) progressive hard rock. Great music is great music.
First some background. The album was released on 30th September and April Art are an independent outfit. Despite various requests from record companies, April Art are going to release their album POKERFACE without a label. The result: an album full of energy and passion that hits the button at 10, retaining the melody throughout. It’s 100% April Art. Frontwoman Lisa-Marie Watz underlines:
“The songs are made for the here and now. Other partners would have only slowed us down. Even though these are difficult times, the fans are waiting for new music.”
“What can you do when life puts obstacles in your way? Your own thing! – and even more consistent and determined than ever before!”
This is the message of the April Art’s album. The band, just like nearly everyone in the live (music) industry, has suffered extremely from the pandemic and its effects. But giving up was never an option for April Art. They know exactly what they are doing – and they’re doing it with passion and a positive, “can do attitude.”
I would describe April Art for the uninitiated as a German band with a modern American hard luck feel. And that’s maybe because Ben Juelg, producer of the record and drummer of the band, is significantly involved in the production. In addition to the drums, he also operated the recording studio and helped create the complete album in less than 4 months. The result is a 12-song strong incredibly versatile set of titles, which underlies a solid foundation: The beauty and the beast, embodied in one person by frontwoman Lisa, supported by guitarist Chris Bunnel, bass player Julian Schuetze and drummer Ben Juelg. Together, the three deliver an instrumental brute pedestal for their vocal force of nature.
And so to the album! Racing from the pens comes P.O.K.E.R.F.A.C.E a no nonsense track with a spoken intro that encourages us to follow the heart. Fast beat, and power vocals, drive this truck along the road. The track pulls toward punk with the rock melody keeping it commercial and kicking. “Manifest” is really interesting, it changes pace and has a futurist techno feel to the piece, lasting a minute it bridges into the intense “Rising High.” The drums stand out here, raised in the mix they root the power vocals and create a strong overall vibe.
It’s an album that bites, but the lyrics are full of hope, on the whole. “Sky is the Limit” has this soaring chorus, its evocative of the new century, motivation and “a rock n roll baby. There is no limit! I could really see this one killing it live.
“Warrior” is a gear change toward the introspective ballad. I liked it a lot and it helps the shade to the album’s heavy feel. It was my favourite, but it is out of step with the overall direction of the album
“My Way” returns to a heavy, pacey rocker and the band slips into a clever little 30 second acoustic interlude before a really heavy number in “See the Light.” I have to say the vocals of Lisa-Marie Walz are fantastic here. She has a hell of a voice and this track really shows off her style and clarity of delivery.
The clever little Interlude, “letters” is almost choral, and it leads in another personal like of mine which is “Superhero.”
The album closes on a tight trio of tracks, where “Leave it Behind” will be another fan shout out live, you can feel the buzz inside it and I can see it translating so well to the live stage. The single “Headline” is enclosed in the link below, you you can be your own judge on that one!
The whole album was a listening pleasure. Honestly, watch this space. This band is definitely coming to get you.
3. Interlude: Manifest
4. Rising High
5. Sky Is The Limit
7. My Way
8. Interlude: Leave It Behind
9. See The Light
10. Start Over
11. Interlude: Letters
14. Leave It Behind
By Stevie Ritson.
A small note from Stevie! Everybody reading this: I hope you like what we do. The guys who put this magazine together work tirelessly to get the features out and keep things looking great and professional. I’m a volunteer reviewer and I love doing these and working on them. But we get a lot of review opportunities and requests, and I’m overloaded. If there is someone out there who would like to work on some reviews with us, it’s great to do if you love music. Just drop the guys a note and we will chat to you!