f.o.c. truly are good at what they do.
Nick Evans (vocals), Christopher Pate (guitars), Scott MacWilliams (drums) and Chris Kosiorek (bass, keyboards), make up the alternative/rock band from San Antonio, Texas called f.o.c. The acronym f.o.c. originates from First Order Condition, which was the band’s original name in 2011. The band released their first independent album, which was recorded at Keith
Harter Studios (San Antonio), during 2013. The album contained songs develop from songs by songwriters Evans and Pate. “Color Blind,” f.o.c.’s latest 6-track Ep, released during December 2014, was produced by David Percefull and recorded at YellowDog Studios in Austin, Texas during June 2014.
The neighborhood of alternative-rock inhabited by f.o.c. is admittedly crowded with residents of the first order -from Grammy winners to Multi-Platinum sellers. That being said, f.o.c. truly are good at what they do, and it’s never been more evident than on this remarkably consistent Ep.
The songs are powerful, thoughtful, and incredibly infectious. The band delivers tunes ranging from loud and proud, to middle of the road catchy and clever, and even an acoustically driven ballad-esque sound to close the Ep. There are no fillers, no mediocre songs, and most importantly, there is not one song on here that you will want to skip.
f.o.c. hit hard from the outset with “Desperation”, to quickly set the tone of the Ep. The opening 2 bars reminded me of the intro on Boston classic, “More Than A Feeling”, but the song quickly turned into a straight-up, raunchy rocker, with enough melody to tantalize your ears. The track is a perfect showcase for the band’s vocal and harmony prowess, embodied in f.o.c.’s trump card –Nico Evans.
“Love My Way” jumps the gun with the same rhythmic guitar riffs and cool drum beat. And when vocalist Nico Evans moves into his lane, you know that the Psychedelic Furs’ are just about to be outdone…on their own song. Few covers ever match their originals, let alone surpass them. Clearly the intense vibrancy of this song was meant to be resonated by a guitar-driven sound instead of sterile synths. f.o.c. prove that beyond any reasonable doubt.
For “Summer of No Regrets” it takes about one-and-a-half listens, and after those one-and-a-half listens, you realize how excellent of a song this is -especially if you are a Radio Station boss. It’s a no-brainer. Energy, heart, crisp rhythm and soaring vocals; slip it into the station playlist and push play. It’s that easy to satisfy listeners!
“Sleepwalker” has a racey post-punk backbeat held together brilliantly by drummer Scott MacWilliams and Chris Kosiorek on bass, but this is clearly the heat of the moment for the band’s instrumentalists, so Christopher Pate forges a subtle but stinging guitar solo to match the rest.
For me “Lovesex” represents the absolute pinnacle of performance on this Ep. It wraps up everything f.o.c. is, as a band. It’ as if they took every artistic expression on “Color Blind” and concisely wrapped it up into a four minute song. The result is catchy, complex, melodic and powerful all at once. It is a musical masterpiece and a perfect calling card for this alternative rock band. “Lovesex” showcases the band’s talents as individual performers, but more importantly it exhibits their extraordinary artistic cohesiveness as a unit.
The acoustics of “Whiskey + Wine” comes just in time to wind things down and close the Ep, allowing you a moment to reflect on what came before, and what may be in the future. “Color Blind” has got to be one of the most striking, and best overall Ep’s of alternative-rock I have heard all of 2014.