Youth and rock music have been synonymous since the days of Elvis and Chuck Berry, so it only seems natural that brothers James (18) and Ryan (15) Guarascia would be drawn to the sounds of old school blues and rock. Founded in January of 2012, the Canadian duo wanted to simply call themselves Two Piece but settled on Two Peace Extra Spicy due to their feisty nature on stage. Despite the odd name, the brothers do impress with their debut EP, Sophia, but there are still some evident growing pains.
There’s no doubt about it – the brothers are clearly influenced by artists like The White Stripes and The Black Keys. Their entire album revolves around that same stripped down rock and roll sound, but it doesn’t always work as with the aforementioned bands. The opening track, “Dark Lonely Road” has a great bluesy feel, but at just over 3 minutes, it overstays its welcome. Unfortunately, there is a noticeable tendency for the songs to feel a little long and monotonous despite their solid beats and catchy hooks.
Frustratingly enough, it can be hard to latch on to those hooks, because the guitar is drowned out by the drums thanks to the overly clean guitar sound, particularly in “On a Cloud.” Ironically, James’ vocals come out fuzzy and the lyrics are also difficult to make out due to heavy layers of effects. It would have been nice to hear more of the distortion on the guitar, rather than on the vocals.
Despite all of this, Two Peace really seem to nail it with the closing track, “Made Up My Mind.” It’s by far the strongest track, effectively blending their influences all while mixing it up with the most energy and versatility.
Overall, Sophia is a great effort but falls short, and in the end, just feels anemic. The brothers are on the right track, but they’ll have to expand on their influences rather than mimic them to really stand out. With such a basic rock style, they really need one strong element to push them to the next level. At the moment the brothers definitely sound like a two piece, but without the spice. The good news? There’s still plenty of time for them to grow as musicians and form their own unique style.
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