Second Guess – Color The Void (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Some songs get themselves noticed through big musical moves and unmissable sonic punches. Others through more deft and delicate song crafting. Second Guess seems to employ both of these, often mutually exclusive, approaches and does so masterfully.

The structure of the song is fairly robust, woven out of rock riffs and indie urges, mainstream accessibility, and more underground vibes but it is what they hang on this framework that makes it stand out. Although the band is perfectly able to use driven riffs to build walls of guitar noise, they blend this with a wonderfully staccato approach, firing off salvos and shards and stabs of guitar as well. And it is the space that such passages build, cracks that let the light in, that gives the song plenty of balance and breathing room.

And that is how you build a great dynamic to a song, blending edge and energy with seductive space and room for the sounds to percolate. And percolate they do. When the band has its foot on the gas the riffs crunch and roar but when they create such space between the notes, atmosphere and anticipation are conjured into existence.

This Pensacola outfit sounds like the perfect band for the here-and-now but they are also following in the footsteps of plenty of bands who have gone before them, standing on the shoulders of sonic giants. You can hear echoes of everything from 80’s UK indie bands to 90’s US college rock stalwarts to post-punk energy and beautifully tempered rock power. And although there is an accessibility to their sound, one which could easily find favor with the mainstream, there is also intelligence and craftsmanship at work here which will endear them to the more discerning movers and shakers of the underground and alternative scenes too.

Second Guess is also proof that the guitar band is very much alive and kicking. In a world where samples and synths, digital creations, and studio manipulations are the order of the day, they manage to weave guitar strings and bass pulses into wonderfully textured layers in which to cocoon their song. No tricks, no gimmicks just the sound of picks on wire to create swathes of wonderful music which they neatly arrange into cascades of indie cool and rock energy. Add to that direct and perfectly unfussy drums and vocals that match the song’s direct and to-the-point ways and you have the perfect old-school sound reworked for the modern age.

Color the Void makes great music and that, at the end of the day, is all that really matters.

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