Hailing from the United Kingdom and hitting the stage on the third day of the 2016 Carolina Rebellion is RavenEye. Comprised of guitarist/singer Oli Brown, drummer Kev Hickman, and Aaron Spiers on bass and synth, last year the group released their debut EP Breaking Out. A collection of five tracks, Breaking Out is a blend of rock energy with subtle currents of blues running through each song, creating an identity for RavenEye that is proudly nonconformist, a celebration of individualism.
The title track opens with driving guitar. The official video the band released for this song showcases the group playing for an ebullient and adoring crowd. Oli’s rock fueled guitar curiously but pleasantly blends with a soulful voice. The song itself is an ode to shirking conformity in favor of getting out there and doing something that makes your heart sing. Not a bad introduction for a clearly talented group.
RavenEye “Breaking Out” on You Tube
The next song on the EP, “Get It Started,” keeps the conversation going with the same juicy guitar, but with a bluesier sound. “Hey, you, what you waiting for? Hey, you, let’s get it started!” sings Oli, right before the band launches into an instrumental featuring a guitar solo with enough energy it could jump the twenty-year-old pickup that’s been sitting in that guy’s front yard for the last six months. Oli’s strong and intelligible voice cuts through the guitar in “Hey Hey Yeah” with the rhythm of those aging hippies that spend so much time on Venice Beach their skin resembles the heads of their bongos (but looser).
“Run Away” is a continuation of the theme of “breaking out,” but rather than running toward one’s dreams, it’s more about leaving one’s nightmares behind. “Run away run away let it all go / Don’t look back don’t look back you want it all.” With descending chord progressions in the instrumental, we’re thrust into the bridge “you can change you can change you can change it all.” I wonder what’s in these guys’ pasts that they might have run from, before forming RavenEye. Whatever it may be, their formative years were well spent in the music realm. It will be exciting to see how their sound evolves from here. If I didn’t know what I was listening to, from the beginning of “You Got It,” I would think it was Rage Against the Machine. That hard driving guitar paired with pumped up drums provides a full introduction for Oli to wail out the first verse with the restraint of a saucier working for José Andres. Things really heat up in the chorus as Oli assures the listener that he really does “want it all.” He opens his mouth and lets his fried soul out, steadily but gradually. If the group can continue to burst through the music world as they have with Breaking Out, they will certainly be able to obtain it all.
Check out RavenEye on Day 3 of Carolina Rebellion. You will not be sorry.
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