Very rarely do I use the word “perfect” to describe anything, particularly music. It is so subjective to taste that it makes it nearly impossible to ever reach perfection. Bands try to appeal to everyone in order to get popular, and in most cases, it detracts from the overall quality of what they produce. Despite everything I just said I finally have my exception to the rule. “What We Are” is the debut album by The Material, and it showcases exactly what they are. They have only been official since 2005 and have released only eight songs until this point.
From a musical standpoint, the composition is genius. Drummer Kevin Pintado combines aspects of various genres in a skillful and sophisticated way which provides an ever-changing and fascinating backdrop to every song. The bass plays a more important role than in most bands, filling in space in verses when the guitar quiets down. Despite the fact that The Material is a five-piece band, the two guitars never overpower. They work together in unison, harmonizing with each other in ways which I am still discovering, even after a month of listening to the album.
The vocals are the cherry on top of a scrumptious musical sundae. Front woman Colleen D’Agostino Moreaux has a flawless voice. The control she exhibits from song to song is so impressive, especially given the vast range of pitches and volumes she covers in each one. She often goes from almost-whisper singing to almost-yell singing on opposite ends of an octave. She’s someone that needs to be heard because talent like hers doesn’t show up often.
The lyrics are something everyone can relate to. Throughout the album almost the entire range of human emotion is covered; fear, bitterness, anger, regret, hope, faith, love, empowerment, and others in between all show up in one or more songs on the album.
I could go on forever about why “What We Are” is the best thing to happen to music in the past decade. The flawless execution by such a young group of individuals deserves recognition far beyond what they have received. Do yourselves and The Material a favor and pick up a copy because you won’t regret it.
From the title track of the album comes the line, “This is what we are, and we’re just getting started.” If that’s true, the music scene has a lot to look forward to.