Hiding Scarlet: Bound

This is a record from my buddy Brendan Joyce-Stengle who plays bass in this band. Brendan is a music major like myself at Millersville University and is a sick bass player. A few weeks ago he gave me a copy of his band’s most recent release and asked if I could review it for the site to spread the word about his band and my site. So obviously I gladly obliged and so here’s my review for Hiding Scarlet’s Bound.

Hiding Scarlet are a unique group of musicians. The band is composed of Amy Fleming on vocals. She reminds me of a more polished version of Maria Brink mixed with an Amy Lee  sensibility. Tonna Carbough provides some beautiful melodies on both the violin and piano. She really helps set up the mood for the entire album. Eric Dieter plays guitar and is killer. he does some electric and acoustic bits and everything guitar-wise is brilliant. Finally, my buddy Brendan provides the rumble from down under with his super sexy five string bass. Jason Brookhens does the drums on the record, but i believe the band have Drew Aument as their full-time drummer. Together they create a very romantic and elegant sound, yet very dark and eerie. If Tim Burton and Tool got together, it would sound like Hiding Scarlet.

That being said, I love the record, but I have a big problem with it. The songwriting is great and the everything musical is fine. I love the songs, but the production kills it for me. I  gotta be honest here and i don’t think the production on this record is something to write home about. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe my ear isn’t as good as I like to think it is, but I had some issues with the way this album sounds. I felt like the bass was way to overpowering and the guitars were virtually nonexistent in presence. The vocals and the violins seemed to be the focal point of the mixing and I feel everything else was left by the wayside. Overall, it all sounded very thin and I think more could have been done to make the record seem fuller and create more of the atmosphere that the band is looking for.

I’m mot trying to put down the record at all. It’s great and I’m sure I’d be just as proud of it as they are, but the production of a record is just as, if not more important than the songs and the rest of the band. If you’ve got shitty songs, but they come through so polished and clean, no one really notices as much (just listen to anything on the radio). But when you’ve got a lot of substance and it’s not delivered properly, then there’s a big gap between the band and the audience and the message isn’t always received (if that makes any sense).

Speaking from experience though, Hiding Scarlet are a great band and they need to be witnessed live in order to really get it. Seeing them live was great and hearing the record still made it all click for me even though I’m not too wild about the record. Don’t get me wrong, the songs and the musicianship is top-notch, it just felt empty to me.

Definitely check them out though. They play in and around the Lancaster are so that’s where you’ll find them this summer. Purchase a copy of the record and help the band out. It’s really good stuff.

Luke Helker

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