Hoboken-based, math-rock band Rest Ashore changes the sound of the basement music scene with the release of its highly anticipated debut full-length album, “The Human Error,” an upbeat mix with heartfelt lyrics and high energy musical parts.
The four-piece indie alternative set recorded the album around intricate time signatures, crisp vocals and smashing snares.
Erica Butts, the lyricist for Rest Ashore, wrote her lyrics from 2010-2014 about past relationships, books she’s read and her life experiences transitioning from high school to college, according to their bandcamp, a music sharing website for independent artists.
“The Human Error” was named after its closing track.
It is one of the softer sounding songs on the album — lead singer Butts traded her traditionally energetic vocals for a sweeter style of singing. But the quartet maintained its trademark guitar riffs, showing off lead guitarist Franklin Savulich and Butt’s technical proficiency and the chemistry they shared in the recording studio.
It is the perfect sign-off for the album and leaves fans excited for what is left to come from Rest Ashore — Butts has already released three more demos since the album was mastered on the band’s official soundcloud.
But, truthfully, it is the track “Chinese Opera” that confirms the group’s talent and potential as a band beyond the Jersey City and New Brunswick basement scenes.
“I wanted to make a new kind of song that we never played before,” Butts said on bandcamp. “One with lots of parts, and was hard, but still really fun to play.”
“Chinese Opera” is the perfect synthesis of fast and slow tempos, guitar solos and whole-group efforts, and English and Japanese lyrics.
The frontwoman is fluent in both languages and teases her fans with her hidden talent for the final two verses of the song.
The lyrics may be hard to follow when the band is on stage because of the unapologetically animated presence they have when playing live, but now that the official album has been released and lyrics are on bandcamp too, everyone can appreciate this fantastically emotional and consuming love song.
“Lucy’s Theme” is another classically “Rest Ashore” track and was the single of the debut album.
“I was reading Dracula, and I cried in the scene where Arthur stabbed Lucy’s super-hot-vampire-girlfriend heart with a stake,” Butts said in the song description on bandcamp. “It was messed up because she was seen as less virtuous than Mina, but I’m like, that’s not fair. I love Lucy.”
It’s a solid track and a perfect song to suggest to someone who has never listened to Rest Ashore before.
“Lucy’s Theme” is exemplary of the harmony Rest Ashore has when they play together, but the song really rests on the broad shoulders of Gabriel Bond, who ties the song together with his prevalent bass line.
Old fans will be pleased to hear crisp recordings of the older tracks only available from live recordings, and new fans will be pulled in by the addictive quality of Rest Ashore’s music.
Songs formerly known only by their online uploads followed by the disclaimer “bad demo,” like “Ambulance Crash,” “Barefoot South” and “Jawclip,” have finally reached their final products.
Additionally fans of these “bad demos” will be pleased to hear even more of the musical intricacies and talents the Hoboken-based band added in the studio versions.
On “Ambulance Crash” the faint sound of the heartbeat-paced drums becomes a clear command from drummer Isabelle Baker.
On “Barefoot South” the band can clearly show off their seductive introductory guitar riffs instead of the echoes there before.
And on “Jawclip” the sound is so rich it almost sounds like it was played with a 12-string guitar.
Although, many listeners may feel nostalgic about the imperfections that made up their previous Rest Ashore listening experience, they will not be too hard to give up after the first full listen of “The Human Error.”
The band draws their main influences from The Smiths and Sleater Kinney, according to their biography on soundcloud, another independent music sharing platform, but, honestly, no one else has a sound quiet like theirs.
With about 20 more tracks left on their soundcloud for the band to professionally record and remaster, the only thing more exciting than Rest Ashore’s long anticipated release of their first full-length album is the anticipation for their next one.