Album Review: Filmspeed – Hexadecimal (Winners NMF 68)

Filmspeed is a unique rock band that defy easy description. This album, Hexadecimal, shows off a range of talents from driving drum beats, to saucy guitar lyrics, and some smooth vocal harmonies. The nearest comparisons might be some of the classic rock bands of the late 70s, but they’re forging a new path in the 21st century.

The first track is an intro with a bit of ambient sounds, but it leads nicely to “Anywhere but here,” an angsty anthem to get the album off to a real rock start. We’ve all been in one of those positions where we feel discontent, but feel like we can’t go anywhere. This track is about that sensation.

“Just My Luck” has a nice groove to it. Something about the song reminds me of the White Stripes. It’s a bit self deprecating, but comes across as a good song to put on for anytime. These guys have a real penchant for beginning songs with ambient conversation and noise, as if they were recording the album in a crowded airport terminal or something.

“I Feel Alright” is the song that won the band this review and it is leaps and bounds the best song on the album. The groove is incredible, the vocals are tight and captivating. The song is frankly ready made for the radio and I don’t understand why they aren’t a household name off of this track alone. “Crazy gonna do what crazy gonna do” is one of the best lines on the album. I mean… we all know THAT person.

There’s an overature and an interlude. There’s a definite attempt to make the album more like a classical “movement” than a typical rock album. That said, the song between those two is a ballad called “Love Me Like Tomorrow.” It has a smooth, personal sensibility. It’s the request for a second chance and comes from the heart.

“Media Driven Sheep” is… well, pretty obvious cultural criticism. They’re not wrong, but we’ll stay out of this particular political/social debate. The following “The Rule of Threes” is sad and heavy overall, with the repetitive sentiment “don’t lie to me tonight.” It’s dark, but comes across as a real rock n’ roll sentiment.

“Everything is better in the dark” is a cool, intriguing rock groove. It’s the distant second to “I feel alright” with a similar groove to it. The vocal tries hard to sound like a classic rock expressive style. The “where would you go” repeated line has some real teeth to it, feeling like an 80s hair band sound.

The final track “Bye Bye” is a 16-minute long track made of a few shorter clips. It’s basically one song with a few attached hidden tracks. There are all sorts of tricks and layers to the track, creating more of a musical montage than a typical “song.” Maybe another way to put it is that it’s as much organized jam session as it is a proper final song. That said, you can tell these guys eat, sleep, and breath rock music.

All told, there are a few really good songs on this album from a promising band. It’s a rock sound that fits in a middle ground between pop rock and a harder even metal rock sound. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for “I feel alright” is a hit and everyone should enjoy that one for sure.

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