To survive among the many alternative rock bands, the droning guitar chords, and the vast amounts of untreated depression and angst, it takes something novel by a band to capture the alternative crowd’s attention. The Mayfield Four’s first release, The Fallout, will likely be fresh enough to attract a good percentage of the alt-rock crowd, and may provide some relief to fans still reeling from the demise of Soundgarden.
This “freshness” is not due to a uniquely positive approach to life, as singer Myles Kennedy spares us no details of his inner-turmoil and frustration over the course of the album. But rather unlike some of today’s alternative rock vocalists, who try harder to convey misunderstanding and pain than they do to sing in key, Kennedy treats our ears with care. In fact, he names such soulful singers as Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye as early influences. “I learned to sing by listening to Stevie Wonder, as well as other Motown and Stax artists,” he says.
Influences aside, Kennedy routinely delivers soaring, sustained notes climaxing with a wide vibrato probably more reminiscent of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell. Hovering below, the band supplies dark, churning rhythms that are held together nicely by drummer Zia Uddin.
The Fallout presents a strong step into the arena of alternative rock for the Mayfield Four. And as Myles Kennedy sorrowfully sings “What I gave/ You took away/ Give it back,” it is unlikely that you will need to sing these lyrics to the record store cashier after paying money for this album.