Nashville rock duo The Criticals (Parker Forbes and Cole Shugart) announce their debut EP titled ‘Front Door Confrontations’ out July 21st with the release of their first single, “Clever Girl,” and its companion music video directed by Hannah Hall.
“We really wanted an upbeat, straightforward song to finish out this EP- one to tie all the others together. “Clever Girl” started after having a dance party of all the new tunes we were really digging.,” they shared.
The Crticials aren’t rewriting rock music here but it’s also not pandering to the current emo-punk revival flooding the mainstream charts. The driving rhythms and simple hooks create an approachable yet familiar sound with bits of UK post-punk sound and clear influences of that early ’00s New York Indie/Alt Rock scene. Of course, there isn’t an exact similarity in the vocals between The Crticials’ Parker Forbes and singers like The Stroke’s John Casablancas but the indifferent, nonchalant delivery certainly runs parallel to each other. But the difference between the two bands can be found in the funky freeform bass strumming that sweetens the melody throughout this track. It adds a layer of soul that accompanies the effortlessly charming and bright guitar chords. Add in Forbes’ broken & seductive croons and it’s easy for highly-listenable tracks like this to be played on repeat.
“Lyrically, I felt like I had been writing the same stuff over and over again recently, so I just decided to go off of a personal encounter I had eves-dropping on a couple at a bar a few nights before we started writing the song,” shares the band. “We started “Clever Girl” with a desire for a robotic dance song, after a lull of only writing ballads and mid-tempo grooves. We were listening to The Bravery a lot at that time, so the repetitive downstroke nature of the guitars happened organically.”
While there’s a clear and recognizable sound to their music, “Clever Girl” still provides promising flashes of a young group willing to take a familiar sound but add their own spin to it. It’s a delicate line for many new songwriters to try and maintain, especially when delivering new music derived from particular influences without falling into the trap of just repackaging the same thing with your own lyrics. Even though they are preparing to still only release their debut EP, The Criticals are already showing they have the highly-talented musical capabilities that should allow the rest of the EP to stray from a derivative sound and it’s why this is a band that everyone should be keeping an eye out for.
Friends for more than a decade, having first met as children at music camp – Forbes and Shugart logged time together in Nashville’s wild DIY rock scene. The two musicians quite simply feed off one another’s energy and not only has it made for a close friendship, but an incomparable musical partnership that blends tuneful classicism and indie-rock thrash.
June 6 – Moroccan Lounge – Los Angeles, CA
July 8 – Pleasantville Music Festival – Pleasantville, NY
July 9 – Mr. Smalls Theatre – Millvale, PA
July 11 – Open Chord Music – Knoxville, TN
July 14 – A&R Music Bar – Columbus, OH
Aug 2 – The Basement East – Nashville, TN
Sept 5 – Uptown Theatre Encore Room – Kansas City, MO
Sept 7 – Vultures – Colorado Springs, CO
Sept 8 – Lost Lake – Denver, CO
Sept 10 – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT
Sept 12 – Barboza – Seattle, WA
Sept 13 – Polaris Hall – Portland, OR
Sept 15 – Brick & Mortar – San Francisco, CA
Sept 17 – Goldfield Trading Post – Sacramento, CA
Sept 18 – The Echo – Los Angeles, CA
Sept 20 – House of Blues Voodoo Room – San Diego, CA
Sept 21 – Valley Bar – Phoenix, AZ