Play to the Gallery are a five piece band from Michigan consisting of Christopher, Stephen, Kurt, Matt and Abbey. On stage they adopt character personas of The Barker, The Conjurer, The Gadgeteer, The Professor and The Stargazer respectively. They describe themselves as a “unique theatrical experience coupled with dance-able, original music” in a steampunk style. I was sent their album to listen to a few weeks ago. They have an interesting style of music which prioritises traditional band instruments but occasionally injects elements of electronica. The sound which – without seeing them dressed up – could be mistaken as mainstream rock with their own twist, but with murmurs of Soft Cell.
The album has many different facets to it and seems to switch through various inspired styles of music and past musicians. As someone who grew up with grunge at its highest popularity in the early to mid 90s, I hear strong influences of popular bands from that era such as Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Rage Against The Machine and Nirvana. Especially in track 6 Burn which uses intricate styles of vocals from high pitched relaxed style rapping to the dark gutteral chorus.
Despite not one for being soppy, Love Song is actually one of my favourites from the album. It’s a lovely contrast from the hard driving electric guitars of the other tracks. It acts like a kind of intermission with its uplifting percussion, euphoric backing vocals and sassy piano riff. Liars & Giants then crashes us back into the harder stuff but with some light electronica backing up the guitars. The last two tracks seem to follow a structure. Fade Away and The Darkness could be assumed as the steps of death. The light starts to fade and in the final moments, you’re consumed by darkness. That sits very well with the title of the album. Ring Around the Rosie is an American variation of Ring a ring o’ Roses; a nursery rhyme that children play. It’s common thought is that it refers to the Plague or Black Death but this was only made popular in post world war 2 era Britain. Before that there was no mention of the Black Death regarding this rhyme and folklorists actually think it’s roots are in Paganism. The “All Fall Down” line actually referring to a bow or curtsy.
Ring Around The Rosie Conclusion
Sometimes things build up and your to do list piles up and you have to start prioritising your workload. Tasks that you think you can do later get pushed back until you have the time. That’s what’s happened to me over the last few months and it’s only now – after weeks of being in contact with Matt Hill – AKA The Professor – of Play to the Gallery, I managed to get to listen to their album Ring Around The Rosie. My point is that I’m kind of annoyed at myself for this, because what we have here is a really fun album of spirited, uplifting music. It’s loud and raucous in places and takes its time where it needs to. The boys and girl from Saginaw, MI certainly seem to put on a great show too. Just the cover image from their Facebook page makes me want to see them live!
As steampunks they go one step further wearing elaborate outfits and masks on stage; which can’t be an easy task. As musicians they’re inventive and willing to not only try new things but also to mix and mash it into the styles they’re inspired by. Which is interesting because you get a feeling of nostalgia without really knowing why.
You should totally dive over to their Facebook page and give them a like. You can do that by clicking this text.
You can listen to the album on YouTube by clicking this line of text.
But please show them some support and buy their album via Amazon here. It’s a bargain at $6.90.