By Brian Ossip, DC Music Live
Out of Fairfax, Va., Symphonic Refrain is the brainchild of Ben Hinders. With a wide range of musical influences, he’s grown and molded his music into what is now an experimental pop-alternative sound.
Over the years, adding a number of other musicians who come and go both through the recording process and for live shows.
Start, the group’s first EP, is a refreshing mix of six electronic, guitar and vocal driven songs that force the listener to tap their feet, bob their heads and start dancing.
The EP kicks off with “Untitled,” begining with a great beat that automatically sets the tone for the rest of the album. After an extended intro, the vocals kick in with a beautiful, emotional voice singing, “They call her Ms. James, but she got some other names / Like wonderful or beautiful lady,” and when the chorus kicks in, it brings a melody that is impossible to not groove to.
“Untitled” is followed by “Dear Miss,” a song that mixes it up with autotuned vocals with an ambient feel to them and an infectious dance beat. When the bridge comes around, it adds electronic drums to the mix, serving to pick up the feel of song, and is an incredible, catchy part of the song.
Next comes “Faith (ft. Thomas).” A pulsing beat gives the song life, and the passionate vocals during the chorus give the song even more power and feeling.
“Faith” is the most uptempo track on the EP, as well as the most radio-friendly, and I mean that in the best way possible. This is a song that anyone can get in to and could easily fit on just about any radio station.
“Scars” follows, with a soft beat, electronic drums, and a catchy cymbal pattern. The vocals have lots of falsettos, with the line “Losing you was more than a mistake.”
Next up is the title track, “Start,” an uptempo track with a light bass drum beat helping keep the time. The chorus features majestic, sweeping strings, and the vibe has an old-time feel, aided with a fun, funky piano beat.
The EP comes to a close with “More Than Anything,” a great album closer. It starts out with a fun guitar that turns to distortion as soon as the vocals kick in. A slow drum beat eventually gives way to a more electronic, uptempo beat. Overall, a great way to close out the album.
Even though it’s only an EP, and only 6 songs, this album leaves the listener feeling like they get their money’s worth, having had an incredibly enjoyable listening experience. Start is a great listen, and one with definitely repeat-ability. You can check out Symphonic Refrain on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Their EP is available at most online distribution sites, including iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.