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Sons of Sylvia – “Revelation” (Music Review)

Greg Victor See original review

From the first note of what sounds like a Ry Cooder-inspired guitar introduction, all the way through the final fiddle strokes of what sounds like a Kate Bush-inspired end of the album, Sons of Sylvia covers a lot of musical territory on their new CD titled “Revelation.”

They offer a unique blend of pop, country, and rock. If you want to hear them live, you can catch them as the opening act for Carrie Underwood.

Speaking of the Carrie Underwood connection – maybe you saw Sons of Sylvia last week when they performed their single “Love Left to Lose” on American Idol. The show’s viewers apparently liked the band’s performance of “Love Left To Lose” in a big way; their new album zoomed all the way to number two on the iTunes pop albums chart this week, behind only the Glee “Madonna” soundtrack.

Or you might remember them as the winning band on that Fox TV’s The Next Great American Band (where they were known as The Clark Brothers). The band consists of brothers Adam (mandolin, guitar, vocals), Ashley (lead vocals, guitar, fiddle), and Austin Clark (dobro, vocals). They used to have a bluegrass sound, but they have shed that uncomfortably fitting sound and have instead become a glossy rock back known as Sons of Sylvia. Their mom (Sylvia, I assume) should be very proud.

Sons of Sylvia’s new sound is totally refreshing, and the arrangements are robust. In it you’ll find the country, rock, pop mix… but their bluegrass roots are never too far behind. They take the entire musical cross-pollination to a new level.

They have a sound that seems destined to improve with age. I have to admit, I much prefer their slower, more emotionally driven songs. I hope they continue to drift further in that direction in the future.

Download these:

“Love Left to Lose” – The first single, this pop anthem was co-written by Ashley and his cousin, and OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder. It’s on this anthem, that these guys really wear their hearts on their sleeves.

“Revelation” – “Crazy how you can have everything but time…. and I don’t know where I’m going, but I know it’s going fast…” sings Ashley Clark in this autobiographical saga of finding oneself through the power of making music. With this catchy track, the brothers make it clear that they were born to do just that.

“Long Beach” – This song brilliantly captures the freedom of driving down the Pacific Coast Highway with the top down as the sun is just setting, and the air is still warm from the heat of the day just passing. It drives through a strange metaphor (“an earthquake made my heart break”?), but it’s still an immensely enjoyable listen..