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Upright Man – Debut Album Review

Band’s Reverence for Rock’s Best shines on their strong debut

New York City-based rock band Upright Man have released their debut, self-titled album today. The band features Aidan Dolan (guitar/vocals,) Nick Katz (bass/vocals,) and Max Yassky (drums/percussion/background vocals.)

The album boasts some wonderful technical credits, too, featuring the production talents of Marc Copely (Roseanne Cash, B.B. King, Billy Squire) and Zev Katz (Jeff Beck, Hall & Oates, Aretha Franklin) and engineered by Bruce Sugar (Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh.) Is it any surprise that such a team came together to make a rock album that shines by showing its esteem for rock’s finest?

Upright Man are quite literally rock scholars — they met while studying classical music composition at New York University. Their careful and meticulous study of the genre has given them an edge, and the ability to masterfully meld genres into one surreal experience.

“Can we learn to love enough?” the band asks on ‘Agoragnostic,’ a retro psychedelic track, featuring a mellow instrumental that sounds like 90’s No Doubt. Throught the entire album, Upright Man have a talent for making music that sounds like it’s from another era of music — one that features a lot less autotune and thumping synths.

It’s a more organic approach, with the track ‘Say What You Mean’ feeling like a well polished, one-take live recording. The bridge on this track is particularly lively, and (for lack of a better pun,) it rocks. There’s a careful level of attention to detail throughout Upright Man that shows the band’s dedication to their craft.

The eponymous album’s title track is another stomper, with the band managing once again to sound like great rock bands before them. The band’s influences, namely Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Led Zeppelin are apparent. Fans of those bands will be particularly entranced with Upright Man’s music, appreciating the band’s similar sound that still feels authentic and unique. Their subtle homages are a well done tribute to their idols.

The band’s slower songs, like ‘Esctasy’ and ‘Three Easy Pieces’ don’t quite have the same energy that other songs on Upright Man enjoy, teetering between gloomy and wistful. ‘Alaska,’ on the other hand, also features a slowed pace, but the song’s production and lyrics manage to keep it a still light-hearted and upbeat affair.

“Got myself a tattoo, says Alaska, but I’ve never been,” is a remarkable lyric for its ability to be both unrelatable and entirely relatable. You may not have a tattoo of a place you’ve never been, but there’s surely something imprinted on your soul of a place you want to go, or a goal you want to accomplish. ‘Alaska’ both celebrates and laughs at our plans in life.

Upright Man continues with ‘Animals,’ a wild track that lives up to its name. The band’s indie influences come into play here, making for a track that sounds delightfully underground but also at home with the mainstream. The album comes to a close with ‘Checked Out’ hailing the band’s more traditional rock influences once more for a last hurrah, and the track is entrancing and toe-tapping.

When it comes to Upright Man, the band have released an album worthy of their name. Fans of classic rock will be ecstatic to hear the way the best of the best have influenced Upright Man, as the band manages to show respect to their legends and put their own stamp on the rock genre.

Upright Man is available now on iTunes and Amazon.

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Written by Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett is the creator and editor of POParazzi. He works primarily in Washington, DC. You can contact him at sam@poparazzi.org and visit his portfolio at sam-bennett.com.

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