Pushing Chords Around a Fretboard (Take 1)

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adamfarr

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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2019, 08:21:07 AM »
Hey Pauly - a bit late to this. Great song concept and the song structure works for me.

It's a demo and *sounds* like a demo. What's up? Guitars are great, bass too. Drumming is a bit one-dimensional (not my area and plenty of comments already on that). I think the real difference is that the vocal delivery is also a little flat (may also - but not only - be a recording/mixing thing - it definitely seems to lack some high end and have some low-mid mud). In the verses it's not a major problem. In the choruses more oomph definitely needed. This is paradoxical as it's not the message of the song but, for this style of track, I'm sure there should be an energy lift.

In addition, there should be more welly around the "pushing chords" line - so I would have at least 2 separate harmony lines there, both double-tracked and panned hard to make a really full sound that hits home.

A couple of small things - the way you sing "prrrrospect" and "ci-vi-li-an" don't sound like natural language (as opposed to the rest where we can hear what I think is your normal speaking accent coming through - hurrah for that). I think these may be examples of what PaulAds was alluding to. Sometimes phrasing and pronunciation things can be used to great effect to emphasise particular words or lines - here I think they stick out a bit. But it's a judgment call of course.



So lots to like, but I think the vocal is where you'll get most return on investment.

Andyb

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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2019, 11:22:26 AM »
Hi Pauly since you are actively seeking feedback I'll dig something up (normally I would just say this is great - cos it really is) Positives are great lyrics, delivery and melody. As you know I''m a bass guy so to my ears it could maybe do with something in the bottom end it's all a bit middy for me and lacks a bit of low end thump. One thing Ive tried before on vocals is doing a take that is 1 octave below your normal voice and have it low in the mix ? I find this really helps bed the vocal in (although in my current project my engineer usually takes it out as I have so many bass frequencies fighting for space) or maybe try a duplicate vocal with a "robotic" effect on it again further back in the mix ? I think that would suit the sci fi vibe I was picking up... these are just minor suggestions. it is already a cool track

Wicked Deeds

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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2019, 12:06:42 PM »
@PaulyX

Lovely intro that immediately grabs the listener.

Track is dominated by the musical backing .

lift the vocal to rise above the music and make that the focal point centre stage/instrument

Lyrically engaging but I think that the chorus is an anti climax to the verse sections which provide real food for thought.  Maybe it's just me but I'm wondering who might be interested to hear that your pushing chords around the fretboard. It's too much of a musicians perspective.  The verse lyrics are deserving of a much better idea for the chorus. This immediately reduces the appeal of the song in my opinion. When you reach "Your bones will buckle" - make the guitar less prominent or more to the point, not quite as busy. This will provide contrast between sections of the song and set you up to be able to lift the song again when the guitars kick in prior to the next verse.  It should be all about  dynamics but the constant driving guitar is preventing that from happening.

Is there a synth happening in the background.   If so, lift it in the mix and make it more prominent. It could help to provide contrast to the guitars and a interesting and contrasting colour/motif.

Well, that's probably enough from me.  It feels awkward taking the gloves off but you did ask.

Having said all of the above.  I think there is much potential here. You've just got to concentrate on the above points to engage the listener from start to finish?

Paul
" I could wait with balance and poise, amidst all of the noise."

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PaulyX

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« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2019, 07:17:40 AM »
Thanks a million for the further detailed feedback guys, I am getting stuck into take 2 and this is all going into the redesign.
@shadowfax and @Andyb  - roger that on the drums and bass frequencies.  I've already swapped out the drums for something a bit more ballsy and wil bear the basement foundations in mind come EQ time.
@CaliaMoko - thanks very much Vicky, I know you've got a great eye for detail in lyrics so that means a lot.
@redrhodie - glad Dave liked it!  Good thoughts on the synths.
@MonnoDB - thanks so much, you are very kind.
@Modestmouse1965/ - cheers buddy.  Funnily enough my friend also said "Syd Barrett", can't hear it myself but you must be onto something... I'm happy if it sounds a bit like him anyway.
@adamfarr - great feedback Adam.  Yeah I need to work on giving the vocals some welly, need to find a padded room to not scare the neighbours.  I really appreciate you pointing our the annoying rolled-R in "prospect".  Details matter don't they?  My occasional rolled-Rs are a reaction to people previously telling me I've got a tendency to do a Jonathan Woss style soft R which sounds naff.  But it's probably a mannerism too far isn't it.  It will go up against the wall in Take 2.
@Wicked Deeds - really appreciate the detailed feedback Paul.  The chorus lyrics: at first I thought the musician's perspective was OK and was angling for a "While my guitar gently weeps" nod, but as Michael also said, yeah they are a bit "me me me" aren't they.  I've got an alternative more inclusive idea lined up for take 2.
Anyway, massive thanks Forum - you rock (both literally and metaphorically).
It's all too beautiful.

diademgrove

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« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2019, 09:41:33 AM »
Hi Pauly,

I think the low end (bass) is fine. I think some of the mid-tones are a little weak. I'd try boosting the guitar EQ in the mid-tones and cutting the bass and the high end. I'm sure there's a scientific method to doing it but I generally just play around with the EQ until it sounds good, at least to my ears. Good luck.

Took me back to the sounds of my childhood. great song,

Keith

Darren1664

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« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2019, 11:54:13 AM »
Unconstrained and brutal!!

Well here goes....

It's great :D

Seriously, I don't feel qualified to give the constructive feedback you need but I'm glad this forum is full of those who are. It does sound great as it is (and pre mix, wow) but I do get your comment about there being a better version hidden there somewhere. I think at this point the meals there and you're just tinkering around with the seasoning and you will find the right balance/missing ingredient for sure.

Pushing chords around the fretboard is a great hook of a lyric btw

All the best

Darren

Paulski

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« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2019, 11:58:30 AM »
Hi Paul
You want harsh? Sorry can't do harsh but here are a few observations...  :D
The vox and melody are super as usual (I do get a hint of another 60's song in the start of the verse melody but I can't for the life of me think of the song). The lyrics are also top notch - and the hook is unique and sth most muso's can relate to.
A few suggs -
It takes too long to get to that great chorus - I would move the chorus to after the first verse - there's a great build there which let me down a bit when the chorus didn't arrive.
Maybe consider a chorus with little or no bg music late in the song - just so when the final choruses hit (with bg music) they have more impact.
The vox are sung in a fairly low register - which kind of doesn't match with the energy of the song - maybe shift the whole song to a higher key?
There I guess I was harsh after all - sorry - now I feel bad - this is top notch as it stands - so ignore me at will.  :D :D
Paul

Modestmouse1965/

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« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2019, 07:08:15 PM »
Hope you don't mind me saying that i have been listening to some of your other stuff and so far i love Keep Your Fingers Dirty and Tin Foil Congress. Listening to your other songs and you have a great writing attitude. Got them playing in the background whilst writing a few reviews.

jacksimmons

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« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2019, 11:20:42 AM »
Hi mate. First off I want to say that I really like this and think it's a great song. As you've mentioned that this is a first take and you want some unrestrained feedback I'm going to offer more drastic suggestions than I might normally. And I'll be more surgical. So here goes.

The intro is at once melancholy and uplifting. I love the guitar sound and the drum sound. It reminds me of early 2000s Radiohead, maybe around Hail to the Thief era. Overall, the backing here is really nice and I especially like the guitar.

Regarding the verses: There are a few times where your vocals become a little pitchy and you might on a second look want to revisit recording some lines.  If I am hearing correctly the lead is double tracked? On a closer listen, I think some of the problem is in the double tracking where one of the tracks is sitting perfectly and the other is a little 'unsure'. This was most noticeable to me in the first verse: the lines "YOUR BONES will buckle" and "there'll be VOLUNTEERS for Venus". You just sound unsure at the start of these lines - you're not *quite* sitting comfortable on 'your bones' or 'volunteers'. I think this is because the chord changes are interesting. Similarly, you *just* come off the note on: "and for all your TROUBLE". However, by the second verse you sound pretty comfortable and by the third verse I spotted really no pitching problems at all.

You also want to pay real close attention to your run ups as well: "I could have BEEN a man of letters" the 'been' isn't sitting where it should. And the "AND SO" in to the chorus is a little unprecise. If I am struggling with a hard run up I will normally go back to the problem area and sing it again and again and again until the melody is so glued in my head it's impossible to sing anything else. I would recommend that here.

Your lead vocal is really eccentric and cool. I love the rolled 'r' on 'prospects'. And the "ti-ee-ime" in the chorus towards the end of the song. It really adds a dimension to this song and I think the art of an interesting lead vocal is really quite important. You've nailed that here. It kept me wanting to listen and it's one of two main reasons I wanted to come back and leave such a detailed review.

The other main reason was the chorus: I think it's great and catchy. The harmonies come in in just the right place to lift the song. I don't know if they are *quite* doing the job they could be doing yet, though. I would love to hear that chorus with a big block harmony arrangement. It's quite a static melody line (not a criticism, some of my favourite melodies are static), and these often really benefit from nice, tight harmonies. If you're interested - and with absolutely no pressure to use it - I would love to have a go at just singing an arrangement for you so you can see what I mean. 

Production-wise I'm no maestro, but it sounds good. I am flicking between speakers and headphones to get a good listen. You have a nice bass sound in my headphones but I think it could come up a little in the mix as it seems a bit light to me. Your lead vocals dip a little in the climax as well and I think they could come up a bit cause they're in and out for me. Maybe just some compression or clever EQing could do the trick. Can't fault drums and like I said I love the electric guitar - although maybe it could come up in the mix or do with some more layering or panning for the chorus just to lift up that section a little more dynamically.

Lyrically I can't fault you at all. I think they are fun and interesting. It's a sensitive topic - the idea that we're all doing this music stuff to no real end - but the tongue-in-cheek nature of the song keeps it just light enough.

This is a great song and I think it's got real real promise. Please don't be put off by the wall of text and the vocal stuff: I have decided to start giving fewer but much more in depth reviews. I picked this tune because I really like it. Got to be a strong SOTM contender.

All the best. And PM if you have any questions or want to tell me to f*%& off. :)


« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 11:27:21 AM by jacksimmons »

PaulyX

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« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2019, 09:05:55 PM »
@diademgrove @Darren1664 @Paulski @Modestmouse1965/ @Jack Simmons thanks for the further feedback on this.  I've just about finished Take 2 now incorporating a lot of this advice, which I'll post in a mo.  Thanks Jack especially for spending the time on that really detailed critique, wow, really useful.  I'd actually (last night) redone the vocal, sure there's still a bit of pitchiness but you give a lot of sage advice I'll remember for the next one.  I really appreciate the offer of harmonies too - I've actually just got the help of another forum stalwart on that, but can I bank your offer?!  I've got another track in mind that I'd really appreciate your harmony help on.  THANKS GUYS.
It's all too beautiful.

Jamie

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« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2019, 11:08:37 AM »
Hi PX, really good listen, great lyrics and some great guitar parts especially in the chorus. My only thoughts were that everything sounded a bit too dry for my ears,. Perhaps some judicial use of reverb might give it some air and also the instruments could do with a bit of separation across the soundscape. Also the drum track could be made a bit more varied.Just my thoughts, but what do I know :P ::).
Good song!

Cheers
Jamie