When I received my latest batch of CDs to review, I was shuffling through them as I usually do, to see if anything sounded familiar. So as I was doing this, I saw the word page, and stopped immediately, thinking "Brian sent me a Pg99 album?" Hardly. What it was instead was the debut EP by New York City's the Pages.
A lot of bands are doing the whole retro rock sound these days, but none of it honestly sounds as raw and authentic as what they're attempting to replicate. So what we have here from the Pages is definitely an EP against the grain, though this time it's not garage rock, but blues-infused pop-rock from the 60's. Creatures Of The Earth sounds as authentic as anything actually released in that fabled decade, with its quirky hooks, terrific harmony, and spot-on guitar playing that can display its talent while never coming off too strong. The influences the band has seems to run the gamut, from the Beach Boys to Led Zeppelin and from B.B. King to the Shins, there's a great conglomerate of sounds here and they fuse together for an amazingly fun listen.
Not all of these influences are concentrated into the same songs, but trails of Jimmy Page can often be mixed in with a very distinct country influence. The trick is to keep all these influences infused into the music, without letting them override your individual style, which the Pages pull off perfectly.
From the start, it's apparent this is a band who have great group chemistry, as the title track kicks off the album in a very fun, bouncy manner which combines their stellar harmonies and short but highly effective guitar solos. "No One By Your Side" has a distinct country twang to it, and the lonely sounding vocals are just as endearing as the mental picture of the countryside that the song places in your head. "Long Gone Sun Rising" showcases the band's more upbeat side, with some rollicking guitar solos and superb tempos courtesy of drummer Justin Dake. The lyrics are clever and fit perfectly to the mood of whichever song they come from, as Grant Osborn's ruminations are as honest and insightful as any other single element here. They don't have to be poetry to be good, as the band proves in "At The End Of The Night;"
I won't regret the things we said tonight / Everything will be alright, my friend.Smart but simple words that really say a lot for this EP. Creating an authentic 60's sound from a vast array of influences sounds like no easy task, but the Pages have made easy work out of it, and Creatures Of The Earth makes any garage rock revivalists look like 14-year-olds from the suburbs who stole their parents' instruments. Pick this up today.