Sonic Fuel Burns Brightly on New Self Titled Album
It’s been said that individuals should be extremely cautious about the names they select, because such monikers are likely to take on a life of their own with unparalleled sway over those they represent.
That said, anyone considering giving Sonic Fuel’s new album Sonic Fuel a spin should carefully consider the meaning of the name before they do. David Hales, the front man for the quartet, chose its handle extremely prudently. All it takes is an ear to the first couple seconds of any of the tunes on this collection to realize that for the next 40 minutes or so the guitars will be as loud as they are electric, the drums will be as furious as they are supportive, and the heavy rock is going to roll its way over and through all else to the finish line.
Interestingly enough, the expressivity of Hales’ vocals stand, in some respect, in curious opposition to this unrestrained energy unleashed—in the best way possible. The emotion he balances in the verses is somehow chill, reflective, and perhaps remonstrative of some of the influences in his songwriting. Moreover, they’ve got the penchant for finding smooth melodies that sound good before things get a little hectic during the hooks.
Although this progression typifies most of the album, it’s particularly notable on tracks like “Good Things”, which sets the pace for the LP well. “The Brink” also showcases this dichotomy with an almost suave feel to Hales’ singing on the verses over a creative drum track that only needs a couple kicks every couple of bars. Burton Akers usually finds convincing grooves on each of these tunes with his bass; in that respect, “The Brink”, which also spotlights the keyboard playing of Julius Blue, is no different.
Nonetheless, it’s the points between the open ended rock outs of the choruses that illustrates some of the best musical moments. “I Believe” positively glimmers with what might even be acoustic guitars during the verses. Accentuated by a deep pocket, damn near slow tempo, and multiple tracks of such guitar playing, it provides some much need poignancy—and more than a little reflection, perhaps—for the album, delivering an essential form of balance characteristic of some of the most popular pieces ever devised.