There are mostly two types of mindsets when it comes to creating music. One mindset being that the music should follow in line with what has come before so that it would have a chance to become as popular as what already exists. The other mindset is to push the envelope and try to create something new and different. It is because of that mindset that music continues to evolve and change. The Suborbitals are one band that is not happy with simply following along with everyone else and you can hear that in the band’s music which takes the feel of Rock and Roll and expands upon it.
In 2003, the foundation of The Suborbitals was formed. Guitarist and vocalist Ryan Masters and sessions drummer Gordon Stokes joined together to explore the idea of making music. Together, they create a sound that continued to develop and evolve. Then, the two musicians added bassist Heath Proskin, and sax/flute player Ben Herod to the mix. The result was a band that created music with a lot of different influences within its music. That music would eventually find its way onto the band’s 2006 release entitled Blackout Rolling.
More than a decade later, The Suborbitals finally make a return and release their second album of music. With the passing of time, it’s not much of a surprise that the band has taken on a slightly different look. While the band still consists of guitarist and vocalist Ryan Masters, bassist Heath Proskin and sax/flute player Ben Herod, the group has another musician in as the drummer. For the new album from The Suborbitals, the three founding members are now joined by Fendel Yonkers on drums. This is the ensemble that has created the 2018 release entitled Hey Oblivion.
Hey Oblivion from The Suborbitals begins with the track called “Bone Tea”. The track begins with the sound of the baritone sax from Ben Herod as his playing provokes visions of a player like John Coltrane. The definite Jazz leanings of Herod’s playing create a rather relaxing introduction into the rest of the track. The rest of the track begins about twenty seconds in and features a quiet, Folk-like approach to the music. The Jazz/Folk musical blend creates a track with a light, easy pace. Once the vocals from Ryan Masters joins the music, the lyrical content about reacting to a bad decision and the musical blend create a track that feels as if it would have been right at home among the Folk-Rock music that was being created around the years of 1968 and 1972.
The new release from The Suborbitals continues with the track “Let’s Forget about It for a While”. The track features an Acoustic Rock feel to the music. While it does contain a slight Folk feel to the music, there is also stronger beat to it thanks to the playing of drummer Fendel Yonkers who hits the drumkit with plenty of energy. The energetic drumming and the slightly laidback feel of the rest of the instrumentation create a musical delivery that is definitely well-rounded, musically speaking. Having been placed right after the track “Bone Tea” and its lyrical content about making a bad decision, “Let’s Forget about it for a While” seems to continue the same theme that was started in the previous track. But in this song, the storyline finds that same couple seemingly trying to make amends.
With the next track, The Suborbitals change the feel of their music and incorporate a most unusual influence into their music. And with that inclusion of such an unusual influence, the band once again shows off the unique quality of their music. It’s the influence of the band Squirrel Nut Zippers that seems to shine through in the track “Devil’s Dance Card”. Even the title of the track seems to conjure up the feeling of that alternative-pop band. The music of “Devil’s Dance Card” by The Suborbitals contains a rather off-kilter Alternative Swing feel. And that feeling would have been right at home on The Squirrel Nut Zippers’ album from 1996 called Hot that featured the band’s smash hit “Hell,” a song that must have been a large influence on the music of The Suborbitals.
With the next track, the band’s sound shift once again. The sound of the track “Elemental” feels like a Rock and Roll song from the fifties…while some DEVO flavor thrown in. While “Elemental” comes across as mainly a straight-out Rock song, the off-kilter rhythms and slightly off-key playing gives the track a rather unique feel. And with the track containing yet another musical direction, it proves, yet again, that The Suborbitals are a band that makes music that draws from many different influences all at one time.
For the album’s title track, The Suborbitals create one of the most unusual tracks on the album. The song “Hey Oblivion” seems to have a generous amount of influence from a musician much like Jack Johnson as the track contains a style that starts with the Alternative/Indie Rock from Johnson and then adds some deeper Blues feeling to the track. Add the inclusion of the saxophone and there is some jazz influence to the song as well. The result is a track that is just as unique as the rest of the album yet is still rather odd in its musical delivery.
As the listener makes their way through the thirteen tracks that make up the Hey Oblivion album from The Suborbitals, you encounter many different genres of music being blended together by the members of the group. What results is an album that changes from one track to the next, and the changes are rather dramatic. No two songs on the album sound alike, and that is part of the reason why the album works so well. If you are a fan of ever-changing styles of music, or your music collection contains some of every popular musical style out there, The Suborbitals’ album seems like something you should check out. And while it has been over ten years since the last album from the band, the twelve years between releases may not have been a bad thing as the Hey Oblivion album from The Suborbitals is a strong album.
To hear the music of The Suborbitals, check out the video to the band’s song “Bone Tea“.
To check out the album of Hey Oblivion from The Suborbitals, click on the album cover below: