Based in Kensington and Mission Hills, The Innocent Bystanders was founded by musicians who played regularly in various bands in high school and college, who got together to form a band to play fundraising events for a local law school. They perform a wide-range of rock and soul, focused on the music of the 1960s and 1970s. The band is made up of Steve Berenson (Drums), Steve Semeraro (Electric Guitar, Vocals), Kaimi Wenger (Keyboards, Vocals), Jessica LaFave (Saxophone), Ben Nieberg (Acoustic Guitar, Vocals) Kath Rogers (Vocals) and Donny Samporna (Bass guitar). Their “Attractive Nuisance” EP of original music was recorded at Singing Serpent Studios in Kensington and released in 2017.
Imagine an EP that manages to draw influences from records that came long before it, but manages to sound like nothing else yet recorded. Not because it’s reinvented the wheel, but because there are so many styles and nuances locked inside the music, you cannot for the life of you, fit the band into any single one.
It manages to detail emotions on the human spectrum in such a way that, even if you’ve never experienced it, you somehow manage to know what it feels like. An album that is so compelling, rich and challenging but still remains completely joyous, harmonious and free of any pretense. Believe it or not this EP actually exists, and it goes by the name of “Attractive Nuisance”.
But surely that’s a bit of a sweeping statement for a record with 4 simple tracks of music? Well I guess it could be, but after a few listens to “Attractive Nuisance” it’s incredibly hard not fall for it. This is a record everyone should own; it is fun and melodic, inventive, groovy, and gives you that good audio buzz you just don’t get in modern recordings anymore.
That’s because everything about it is just amazing. Its warm, organic production, affecting lyrics and the way it manages to take you on a roller coaster of emotion and excitement whilst always remaining musically focused throughout. The Innocent Bystanders just bang out, great song after great song, doing absolutely no wrong at all.
Be prepared to fall in love with rock and roll, and rhythm and soul, all over again during this EP. Starting with “Gotta Get Outta Here”, to “Highways”, and “Emerald Eyes” onto “Working Man’s Daughter”, The Innocent Bystanders infuse these songs with vibrant rhythms, resonating horns, stirring harmonies and tons of positive vibes that penetrate the speakers all throughout.
“Attractive Nuisance”, despite its short run time, accomplishes a great deal. It’s the crucial axis and it’s a wholesome alternative for those that dislike the notoriously long run-time of albums, and gives fans a kick in double-quick time; it makes an easily digestible starting point for newcomers to the band, and will have them hungering for more.