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Black Tie Stereo: “The Artist” is invitingly luscious

Hailing from Scranton, Pennsylvania, Black Tie Stereo has already had had the honor of opening for major acts such as Panic! At The Disco, Weezer, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, MIlky Chance, AWOLNATION, K. Flay, and Lewis Del Mar. The band is comprised of singer/keyboardist Stephen Murphy, guitarist Jesse Morvan, bassist Aaron Kovalich, and drummer George Pachucy, four high school friends with eclectic tastes and a common love of creating intricate yet accessible music. Since their launch,  the band has completed and released a six-song EP and two singles, with a freshly completed, EP on the way soon. In the meantime we browsed the group’s catalog and discovered the beautifully harmonic and melodic single – “The Artist”.

The indie-rock and pop scene has long been as full of copycats and one-trick ponies as the mainstream (or close to it, anyway), but over the course of their still-brief career it seems as if the Black Tie Stereo has  managed to stand out as a force for innovation.

They could easily stand alongside the cadre of indie bands that have managed to move on to commercial success with little to no help from radio, as they’ve managed to find a sound that’s catchy without pandering and intelligent without any undue intellectual pretensions.

Black Tie Stereo rely as heavily on unpredictable, sharp song structures and lush organic arrangements as on their sunny melodies and enjoyably rich vocals, and it’s as winning a combination here on “The Artist” as it is on any of the other songs in their catalog.

The song takes just one listen to get into, probably even more so in this case as the band’s sound comes to rely increasingly on melody and harmony, as opposed to some of their more electrifying rhythms on other songs.

But at the same time Black Tie Stereo’s sound is invitingly luscious: the at times big, chiming guitars that sort of float along over the rumble of the bass, with the subtle keyboard accents drifting in and out of the mix, all signal a level of mass appeal that few will see coming from an indie band of this nature.

“The Artist” establishes their continued vitality quickly, starting off all dreamy and minimal and lulling the listener into a false sense of calm before the intensity increases and takes off into a blissful gem of a song. Luckily for us, Black Tie Stereo’s well of unpredictable, endlessly listenable indie-pop tunes sound endless.

It’s forever refreshing to hear new music by contemporary groups that are as tuneful as these fellows. I won’t be making any predictions or placing any bets, but I will advise you to write the name Black Tie Stereo down somewhere, then sit back and keep your ear to the radio and your eyes on the charts and any major award winning events, in the near to mid-term future…

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