I had the good fortune of receiving a pre-release copy of Hour 24’s up coming CD One Step At A Time, an eight song EP to be released independently next month. If you haven’t heard Hour 24, musically, they’re a brand of pop punk that’s on the verge of being metal— raging guitars by Dan Quigley and Cody Sizemore, low end brought to you by Luke Eckenberg, and Robert Geiger covering the drums more than adequately. Forget the brutal screaming typical of metal though. Instead you get the beautiful vocals melodies of singer Rachel Mayer. Now you get an idea of where Hour 24 is coming from.
The album starts with “Stranger To Me,” an upbeat song, a bit like Rise Against, with a bouncy verse, followed by a melodic chorus. The song ends with a climatic guitar solo followed by the chorus.
The second song, my favorite from the album, is “Awakening.” This song is the most polished song on the album. “Awakening” starts off much like “Stranger to me” with a quick-tempo, guitar-driven verse, with a chorus that’s catchy as hell. But then midway through, the song drops down to a few chords on a lightly distorted guitar, only to build back up to a massive crescendo, led by Rachel’s epic vocals.
“Awakening” is followed by “Lovesick,” which starts out with a lightly played melody before breaking into a heavier chorus. “Lovesick” has a slower tempo compared to the previous two songs, and is quite obviously a love song. The song culminates with a guitar solo.
“Painting Pictures” shifts the tempo back to upbeat. The song brings a positive message about going after your goals in life, despite what your detractors might say, and does so without sounding cliched.
The next song is “Reborn” a song that blurs the line between the heavier realms of pop punk with melodic metal. The formula is still similar to the other songs, with a chunky guitar rhythms during the verse and a catchy melodic lead during the chorus, but with inspiration taken from much heavier bands.
“Solstice” takes the EP in a much lighter direction, with clean melodic guitars and more focus on the vocals. The distorted guitars kick up in the latter half of the song and build to a heavy melodic apogee. The song ends by returning to the clean guitars and soft singing.
“The Truth” explodes after a short ambient prelude. “The Truth” is a song with more of a pop punk vibe, with a few guitar solos thrown in for good measure. The song ends with a heavy, but melodic chanting.
The last song is my second favorite song on One Step At A Time. “Denial” starts out as a pop punk song and ends more like a metal song, with heavy chunky rhythms and super-shredding solos. “Denial” shows the same polish and promise that “Awakening” and many of the other songs on One Step At A Time exhibit—and one could imagine hearing it in regular rotation on alternative rock stations.
For a local band, Hour 24 is at the top of their game, and ready to move to the next level. With the release of One Step At A Time, which is a very well produced EP, along with their upcoming tour, Hour 24 is poised for great success. They’ll be starting their tour with Aim Your Arrows, Nadin, and Katie’s Got Guts on May 17th at Mickey Finn’s here in Toledo. If you haven’t seen Hour 24, they put on a high energy show. Better to see them now for a few bucks at a local show, than to wait until they’re touring arenas and you have to pay $50 for seats in the nose-bleed section.