In a first for Call That Music? Cam Lynn, a musician based in Southampton, UK shares his thoughts on the latest release from Brazilian band Science Toys.
Hybrid. This is exactly how I would describe this song to someone who had not heard it before as it combines an array of timeless rock characteristics. From the São Paulo band “Science Toys”, they introduce their new song with a music video titled “Hybrid”. In this review, I will be delving into what makes this song tick and what makes it a unique track.
On my first listen, you’re opened up to an almost classic rock-esque riff that portrays quite a neutral feel. It doesn’t fill you with happiness and it doesn’t give off a sinister sound either, but it does leave a bit of a mystery. I wasn’t sure what to expect after hearing the introduction and the opening verse. The opening verse is very short and changes to what I would explain as the pre-chorus where the feel is looser but this time with a mean bend on the guitar. The double tracked guitars that are mixed in the background are a nice touch and definitely gives this section a feel of epicness as it widens the mix in comparison to the verse. I’m not sure if this production technique would have been better placed in the chorus which would result in a more dramatic change from the pre-chorus to the chorus, therefore making the chorus the undisputed pinnacle of the song. Either way, you can tell that they’ve put considerable thought into how the song flows.
You then reach, what I would describe as, the chorus, when the singer unleashes his voice much more in comparison to the very withdrawn verse and pre-chorus. Up until this point in the song, the singer has deployed a “breathy” tone which shows that they’ve paid attention to the dynamic flow of the song. I found myself being reminded of the 90s grunge movement from this singer which is always a welcome feeling. The singer sits nicely over the band when he’s pushing himself and has one of those powerful voices that are meant for rock. I do hope he carries on to use the power of his voice as the band doesn’t sound complete in the verses where the singer may be a bit more relaxed.
You’re also hit with driving power chords and a kick drum driven groove in the chorus. Again, I love the vocals in this section. Power and grit with a side order of rage. These lyrics couldn’t be performed any other way as in the chorus, they are especially passionate. I do find that the lyrics can be a bit scattered in the other sections of the song, but the chorus lyrics don’t mess around and deliver the message of the song perfectly. I’m very on the fence with my opinion on the drum part. With it’s continuous kick hammering away, it feels like there should be more energy from it then there actually is. I also feel the repeated snare fill seems too forced in there and doesn’t really add anything to the section itself. It feels a bit shoehorned in there to make the drums interesting somehow which unfortunately hasn’t worked for me. Having said this, when it breaks out to the post-chorus section, the drums are much more open and in sync with the rest of the band which makes me think the chorus drum beat was intentional to build tension and then release when the post-chorus comes in. This section is my favourite part of the song. It’s spearheaded by an awesome, groovy riff with the drums filling out the spaces and also stabbing on the perfect accents of the guitar. I do like the vocals in this section, but again if the vocalist had let it rip in this section, it would really assert the intensity and passion of the song.
What I feel the song is missing, is a bridge section to flip the song on its head briefly to then return to the chorus. Something even more gentle than the verse with perhaps an arpeggiated guitar and a very relaxed drum beat. Maybe even the bass taking a more melodic role as it is persistently and strictly supporting the guitar. You’re probably thinking that’s what the bass is for, but I’m just picking up ideas that I think would have been a good change in the song. I’d love to hear a guitar solo from the guitarist too.however, I understand why there wasn’t one in this song as it’s already got a strong riff which means the guitar already has its place in the limelight. I’m also still on the fence with the production of the song. I think the vocals and the guitar sound massive and they sound how it should on this kind of song. If I’m being picky, maybe the guitar needs a bit more of an edge tonally as well as the bass. I’d like to hear the bass cut through a bit more, I want to hear some more strings smacking the frets like the good old days. But mainly, I find the drums are lacking in tone and also in dynamic range. The song would perhaps exude the energy that was first intended if the drums were more raw and recorded in a more creative way.
In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed the song Hybrid. It felt like it had a nostalgic callback to many iconic sounds and themes of different rock generations which all came together in a modern way. Despite any shortcomings I felt the song had, you could still hear the force of their artistic views. Clearly Science Toys are a passionate band that I hope to hear more from.
This article was guest-written by Cam Lynn, a final year student at The Academy of Music and Sound in Southampton and an accomplished bass player. You can follow him on Instagram!