Alias Wayne is a fun side project of singer/songwriter Ranzel X Kendrick. Released on June 8th, “Firebrand” is the third EP under the name Alias Wayne – following 2019’s release “Snafu” and 2020’s “Faux Pas”. Call That Music? takes a listen to the release…
The EP kicks off with “Radiation Town”, a groovy tune. There’s elements in this track which remind us of “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield and “Let’s Work Together” by Canned Heat. “Radiation Town” is a nice blend of sounds, one thing you may not notice is the cool brass section – it’s buried in the mix and we had to really listen for it.
Second on “Firebrand” is the track “Joan of Ottawa”. A bit of a “Hey Joe” kind of vibe here. When it started off, it felt seemed like a different vibe but around the one-minute mark it picked back up. We’re trying to make sense of the lyrics, we’re not sure what the story is meant to be here. It seems like in places in this track the vocals could more harmonies and layers here to really make the track pop, it feels lacking. A good effort nonetheless.
Track three is “The Young & The Brave”. We really like the piano intro, a good feeling. Vocal harmonies here, that really cements the feeling and passion in this track. Again, trying to make sense of the lyrics it seems like this is one paying to the tribute to veterans? We kept thinking it would pick up with some drums, bass and guitar, but the keyboard only idea is a nice touch. The track fades out.
Up next is “Fixin’ To Die Rag”, an updated cover of the Country Joe And The Fish classic anti-war song. It’s a good cover but it feels this could have used more energy to really bring the passion of the song’s meaning out.
“Give Me My Freedom”, now this really caught our attention. The tone of the slide guitar is phenomenal. It’s right at the back of the mix but it sticks out. Wow, there’s a lot here that’s great. The bass player is right in the pocket too and lays down a superb groove. But yet again, something’s lacking here. We’re not hearing enough energy or drive from the vocals. There’s another fadeout but the song as a whole doesn’t feel like it reached its full potential.
“Real World” is the final track to “Firebrand”. The longest track on the EP at just over five and a half minutes. A good build up. Good little licks here and there on the guitars. A rolling groove really makes this a driving song. There’s a lot of energy in the music, but something feels off. The vocals just don’t match the music in terms of energy. The track seems to lose energy as it goes along.
“Firebrand” by Alias Wayne has a lot of potential, there’s a lot of great music here but consistently the energy just wasn’t matched as we’ve said throughout this review. Our highlight was definitely the tone of the slide guitar in “Give Me My Freedom”, that track definitely had a lot going for it. While this was an okay listening experience, it just fell short.