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“Stay on the Phone” by Back From Nothing

Back from Nothing’s new single “Stay on the Phone” certainly owes a lot of its musical character to the past. The Westchester based outfit’s brand of nervy and sinewy guitar pop dates back to the late 1970’s and continued evolving throughout succeeding decades. They do have several standout qualities distinguishing them from mere imitators. Back from Nothing have superb lead vocals for the style and a penchant for harmonies that sweetens their six-string attack. The lockstep precision they achieve with the guitar and drums gives their music an added dimension they otherwise wouldn’t possess and the production frames these elements as out-front elements of the band’s sound.

The guitar sound is jagged but brittle. It has audible warmth, however, rather than jamming into your ears like ice picks. It’s easy to hear the band latch onto an early groove and milk it for every note its worth and they achieve surprising rhythmic intensity fast. Some might anticipate that the song sounds herky-jerky in some fashion, but it never does. “Stay on the Phone”, instead, locks into a wiry romp and the band rides it through to the song’s conclusion.

Their innate chemistry is audible on the recording. You can hide many things with modern production trickery, but you need some key building blocks to even “manufacture” a band’s sound in the studio. There’s no sense of that here. Back from Nothing is a four piece playing with easy going yet confident chemistry that brings immediate life to their brand of alternative rock. It sparks a fire under listeners from the outset.

Back from Nothing’s sense of songwriting structure pays off for listeners as well. There’s a measured sense of development pervading this song rather than rushed cookie-cutter condensation that doesn’t hang around in the memory. Back from Nothing don’t readily announce their ambitions but songs such as “Stay on the Phone” are ultimately cut from the finest cloth rather than cheap fabric destined to fray fast. This is durable songwriting.

It is likely they will continue along this path, but all the better for it. Back from Nothing clearly manages this style well and it offers them endless variations rather than pigeonholing them. “Stay on the Phone” hints at greater flexibility than what the song offers on its face, but likewise leaves no question about the band’s ability to play hard-changing alternative rock. The individual slant they adopt for the work makes it all the better and cuts through any overt similarities. It’s that added splash of something different that sets this band apart.

This is a song with crossover potential, as well. Rock music in this mode still exerts a certain appeal on major college campuses and surrounding environs. It isn’t beyond the realm of reason that Back from Nothing starts generating a big buzz and spreading their musical tentacles far and wide. “Stay on the Phone” illustrates they have a deep stylistic understanding of this approach and the musical vocabulary for expanding on its possibilities. Let’s be excited for whatever turn they take next. 

Mindy McCall



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