- On Second Thought…
- Back Towards the Shore
- Bear Trap!
- A Decade Under the Sun
Preston Eastwood & Paul Demer are a new duo on the indie music scene with their first album, Hope. After casually playing together for a while, the two decided to write and record an album. The collaboration between these musicians has created some incredible pieces of music. For this album, Preston Eastwood contributed vocals and guitars, and Paul Demer performed on vocals, drums, guitars and bass. Their sound is very unique, but has many noticeable hints of influences such as Switchfoot, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Beatles.
First up is “On Second Thought…,” which starts with a fun whistle. The song has really good guitar work all the way through, but especially the background melody in the verse and the riff right before the chorus. The lyrics talk about restarting life with God and learning not to worry: “I’ve just been looking for / A little peace in this storm / I’ve got my foot in the door / And I have never felt more relieved.” The duo’s first “single,” “Back Towards the Shore,” opens with an awesome guitar intro that sounds very mysterious and draws you into the song. Preston’s voice reminds me of Adam Young of Owl City as he alternates back and forth with Paul. A major highlight of this song is Paul singing these captivating lyrics: “I’ve never walked on water / But I can say I’ve tried / I’ve never sold my soul / But I’ve never found my life.” I would say this song shows a sense of longing for help from a greater power. I loved the guitar solo at the end because it is not over-done—it’s just simple and perfect.
“Bear Trap!” has an awesome intro rhythm and a great guitar solo. On the first chorus, Preston’s voice starts to remind me of Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay, and the harmonies on the following choruses are really beautiful. The lyrics talk about dealing with someone who is a bad influence on your life and needing to stay strong in what you believe is right: “You try to entice me to return to my vices but I won’t give in.” I love the addition of the drum break in the last chorus. “A Decade Under the Sun” reminded me right away of Relient K’s popular song, “Faking My Own Suicide,” with its country/pop/rock sound. Some of the vocals sound a bit rushed, but the harmonies mask it a little so it doesn’t hurt the quality of the song. The prominent bass guitar line begs you to follow along with it. The main lyrics on the chorus are really cool, (albeit slightly depressing without listening to the fast music), saying: “I’m sitting in my bedroom all alone / Dreaming of places that feel like home / What is home again?” The bridge of the song has a lot of great sounding country/bluegrass-type instruments that are so cool to hear on an indie rock record.
The final song, which is the title track, “Hope,” has an inspirational message that I’m sure many people can relate with: “I just want to know / There’s more than this false hope that keeps me up at night alone / And I just need to see / Every part of me turn into something that you’ll love.” A spoken word portion is included, but unfortunately it’s very hard to distinctly hear what is being said. I’m not sure if this part was supposed to be profound words from a speaker, or perhaps just meant to be the random musings in ones’ head late at night. I love both the ending of this song, and how it ends the album—just great.
Overall: Though they are only two musicians, the sound of Preston Eastwood & Paul Demer lacks absolutely no richness of a full band. If you listen closely, you’ll hear so many little accenting sounds here and there that just make each song really special. Their lyrics are incredibly thought provoking and mature. I’m so impressed that two young indie artists can craft such a versatile piece of work. If you like this album, which I highly recommend checking out, you should also listen to Paul Demer’s solo music and also his music with the now inactive band, Second Story Feedback.