Andi Fawcett and Doubting Gravity are no one man (or woman) show, as one can easily ascertain from listening to their stellar self-titled EP. Andi Fawcett is as important to the songs on this record as are Josh Prescott who produced the EP (his first), composed the orchestrations, as well as plays bass; Mike Allen on lead guitar and Dave Henault on drums. Together, these four musicians have crafted one of the best rock/pop EPs of 2012.
Fawcett played with both Henault and Allen in former bands, but she formed Doubting Gravity in 2007 with just Henault and Prescott, as Allen was busy on other projects. However, Mike Allen finally joined the band in 2011. Though they are largely known for their live shows, their songs make a smooth transition to CD format. The songs still have the energy and the drive from the live sets, but they are also radio ready for the masses. The EP is a collection of four well-crafted and well written rock/pop songs. Though led by Fawcett's vocals, these songs are driven home by Henault on drums. In this day and age when auto-tune rules and keyboards replace the musicians, it's refreshing to hear an EP so alive with musical talent.
The four musicians in Doubting Gravity: Andi, Mike, Dave and Josh, have all been a part of the Portland music scene since the 90's and their experience wears well here. The EP opens with the song "The Real Thing" (the video has 28,120 views on You Tube),an up tempo pop/rock song about finally finding "the one." You can hear the sincerity in the way she sings. Henault, one of Portland's hardest working drummers (he plays for both Sly Chi and The Fogcutters), really drives this track on the drums. Not many drummers are known for their signature sound, but as a fan of Henault, I could tell instantly this was him. He drums as if he's drumming out the lyrics. The song is nicely rounded out by Prescott on bass and Allen on guitar, both of whom bring as much intensity to the song as Fawcett and Henault. Mike Allen has this ease on the frets that lends itself to ingenuity for each song design
The second song is the slower tempo "Angel Down." It's a song about losing a loved one and you may very well melt when she sings longingly, "I define beauty with your face." The track builds to a nice intensity and as always, Fawcett sings as if she means every single word. It's a radio ready song that will appeal to many different people.
Like "The Real Thing," Doubting Gravity fans will immediately recognize the third song on the EP "Best Wasted" from their live shows. Its rock/pop with a slice of R&B, thanks to Josh Prescott's funky bass line driving the song. "Wasted" has some difficult rhythmic changes that actually help drive the beat. This is easily the most danceable song on the record. It plays well in the studio and you can easily tell why this song is such a crowd pleaser in their live shows.
The EP rounds out with the ballad "Cover." This is a beautiful song that explores the softer side of the band. Fawcett's vocals are nothing but a whisper at times and then she builds to the chorus and explodes. It's a beautiful exercise in the range of not only a good vocalist, but good musicians. This is another one of those songs that is radio ready and will appeal to a wide variety of music fans. Like the other songs on this EP, the chorus is the kind that you'll be singing along to. This is the song you'll dedicate to your best friend, your partner, your spouse, etc. Fawcett has a way of writing songs that are relateable without being generic. The lyrics are poetic and at times intricate and the songs themselves are the kind you'll remember and want to play over and over again.
Portland is chalk full of amazing vocalists, musicians, bands, singers and songwriters. Doubting Gravity is among the best of the best. As with any band that is fronted by a beautiful woman, people often forget that there's more to the band than the lead singer. They may be billed as Andi Fawcett and Doubting Gravity, but this is a band through and through. It's obvious in their talent, chemistry and the friendship shared within the band. I can easily see Doubting Gravity on tour with Matchbox 20, Maroon 5, Fun, Train, Mumford & Sons and even One Republic. This is truly a Portland band on their way to the top.
Doubting Gravity is one of the hardest working bands in Portland and this record is proof of that. This is a solid EP that should garner fans far beyond Portland Maine. This record proves they are ready to go national and finally get the recognition they deserve. Keep an eye on them, because they are surely on their way.
If you’d like to see them live, they will be at The Big Easy in Portland Tuesday Nov 6th, they will playing the classic No Doubt album "Tragic Kingdom" cover to cover. Their EP Release is also at the Big Easy on Friday Nov 9th. On November 10th, the band will grace the stage of New York City's legendary rock club "The Bitter End," playing the coveted 11:30 pm slot.
To celebrate their 3 gigs, EP release and their debut at The Bitter End, the week of Nov 5th will be Doubting Gravity week on this blog. Tune in each day for interviews with each band member, along with photos, and a piece I'm working on about the evolution of this band that will run on Friday Nov 9th. - Wil Whalen http://dangerwilrobinson.blogspot.com