By Angela Blasi
Airacuda is an NJ based alternative rock band tearing it up all over Massachusetts. Having met at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, the group formed in 2011 and released their first self-titled album produced and mixed by Dom Morley in December of 2012. It is available for purchase and streaming here: https://airacuda.bandcamp.com/album/airacuda.
Airacuda is composed of members Eddie Takumi Ruddick on bass, backing vocals, keyboards & violin, Matt Fernicola on guitar, Matt Menges doing vocals, rhythm guitar & keyboards, Roland Greco holding down the back line on drums and Phil Marphlak on guitar& bass.
A light and airy rhythm dignified by a simple melody with lots of momentum, it’s easy to listen to and even harder to turn off. Overall, the guitar work is fantastic; complex like the work of a seasoned musician but without being overly technical. The opening track is “Cannonball,” and being a fan of ska the introduction of the saxophone hooked me. It’s a clean sound and a great introduction into the rest of the album. Menges invites us to jump in all-together lyrically, and metaphorically speaking the track does just that as the listener delves seamlessly into the next track “Exit Left (Drive to You)”. There are harmonies on this track that are crisp and well placed to bolster the overall sound into a true listening experience. The third track “Can I Get By” swings right from the first moment you put it on and continues right through to the ending guitar riffs. Maybe I’m just a huge fan of the horns, but it adds a nice element that engages the ever-popular head bob in me, the listener. The music makes me want to move, so I imagine this song is a lot of fun to dance to at a live show. It almost has a Beatles-like quality, reminiscent of “With A Little Help From My Friends.” “Lies” feels distinctly more chaotic with more of an edgier rock vibe. A flurry of rhythmic chaos hits us in the opening few seconds only to lead into a steady beat with ominous energy behind it. The addition of a female vocalist on this number is a refreshing change of pace and compliments the tone while meshing voices to create a robust harmony for audible delights. The rest of the album is rounded out nicely by the sultry melody and saxophone on tracks like “Winter Blues” and “Nightlife.” Even when contemplating the mundane suburban existence in “Pulses” the music never fails to get the listener grooving with its uplifted tonality. The album ends with the relaxed sounds of “Summer Sun” and “Who Are You.”
Airacuda’s sound gels really nicely without being messy and overcomplicated. It has the steady roll that defines rock n’ roll while the music is rounded out with the bands own touch of alternative spice. I appreciate the level of musicianship coming together in this band because they do not need much adornment or technical help to create an engaging and enjoyable sound. It reminds me of something that may be categorized as easy listening, but with much more backbone and style. The players are solid and the lead vocal melodies are defined by colorful tones. I look forward to seeing the evolution of their sound and what direction the music takes.