radioAirplay Review by STeven AZAMI
Impression: "BurnYouDeep" is the impressive debut release from the Michigan-based trio, Protea. This alternative pop/rock track features vocalist Kelly Staten's angelic vocals, as she soars atop drummer Jonny Tornga's steady, vibrant groove and guitarist Josh Mitchell's dynamic and compelling playing. Staten and Mitchell's voices mesh brilliantly in the choruses, with the pair exchanging poignant lines in the bridge. Its karmic lyrical themes and deeply resonating melodic hooks make Protea's "BurnYouDeep" an easy recommendation for alternative and indie rock audiences, particularly those who can appreciate the high levels of musicianship and fine attention to songwriting. Look for Protea's inaugural eponymous album Protea, available directly from the band's website or wherever music is sold.
Strongest Points: Outstanding production, excellent mix. At first, I thought maybe the guitar was a bit too much out front at times, but after repeated listenings decided it worked well here, love the tone, fuzz and filtering as well as the playing. Engaging arrangement and song structure, good dynamics and variation. Fantastic intro hook. Nice propulsive groove, does well to drive the song. Terrific chorus, big and wide with a memorable melody. Amazing vocal performances. Kelly's lead sounds incredible and the harmonies blend beautifully. Lyrics are heady and penetrating, without being too "on the nose. "Should connect with more enlightened audiences, without alienating those who don't get it. Overall, it's a wonderful song and a tremendous track, particularly for a debut. One of the most exciting things in the world is to witness a budding band develop their sound, and you're well on your way. Phenomenal work here, by everyone involved.
Full review *HERE*.
Pitch Perfect Review by Dom Eagle
Protea’s self-titled debut release Protea is the work of three talented musicians — Kelly Staten (vocals/bass/piano), Josh Mitchell (vocals/guitar/piano) and Jonny Tornga (drums/electronics). It’s clear that everybody working on this project is a multi-talented creative because they all have more than one role to play. That excites me before I’ve even heard the project. And let me tell you that the music itself does not disappoint. “be it.” is the ethereal opener to this unique album. Tornga lays down a booming drum beat and Mitchell delicately plays a moody, twangy guitar rhythm. Staten’s vocals are forlorn and utterly transfixing. The synths blend perfectly with her stunningly-elongated notes in the choruses, as she sings that, “I know it’s beautiful / Why can’t I see it? / I know it’s beautiful / Why can’t I be it?” While these lyrics are obscure and, I’m sure, deeply personal, something about the way they’re sung makes them feel completely relatable.
The upbeat, peppy nature of the second track was totally out of left field, but I’m always a fan of the unexpected when listening to a lengthy record. “BurnYouDeep” is driven by huge power chords and Staten’s flexible and endlessly-versatile voice. She and Mitchell harmonize with impeccable precision on the choruses. I’m so impressed by the musical prowess of every band member. I can’t get enough of the gloomy electric guitar solo towards the end of the song. Fantastic work.
“Find It In Yourself” initially puts Mitchell at the forefront of the track, vocally, and this gives the track a bit of a pop-punk flair; something about his singing style reminds me of ‘90s/‘00s bands like Green Day and Blink-182. Even though the chugging guitar and punchy drumming remains the same throughout, the vibe of the song changes whenever Staten sings. It creates a truly interesting dynamic. Things take a more mellow turn on “Hungry Liar.” Tornga brings out the shakers on this one, which is driven by a very slow beat and drawn-out, effects-heavy electric guitar strums. Staten’s singing is, as ever, utterly sublime. She and Mitchell harmonize beautifully on the choruses.
“Reach” dials down the energy even farther, offering slower strums and even gentler drumming. But this intro is deceptive because the choruses are driven by electrifying power chords with the gain dialed back up to 10. They really smash the loud-quiet dynamic between the verses and choruses. But “Won’t Let You Down” might be the softest song on the record, as Protea dives into full-blown ballad territory. The chord progression is lovely, but it’s the vocal duet between Staten and Mitchell that truly glued this song together. Gorgeous. Of course, the uppercase on “DOLORES” gave me a hint that this trio wasn’t done with rock. Brutal drumming, gargantuan electric power chords and powerful singing merge to create a massive rock anthem; there’s a brilliant solo halfway through the song.
“Red Pine” maintains the boisterous vibe of the previous track, offering more chugging guitars and explosive choruses. There’s a satisfyingly dissonant quality to the rhythm on this track; Staten’s vocals complement it wonderfully, but I really have to give Mitchell a special shout-out for his guitar-work on this one. Top marks. And Tornga’s ferocious, staccato drumming, towards the end of the track, really gave it the energy it needed. This leads into “All For One,” which is a tamer song with mesmerizingly-complex guitar arpeggios and drum-work. Staten delivers with an amazing vocal performance, once again.
“$eeds” is driven by my favorite guitar passage on the album. Mitchell has found a breathtakingly good tone for his guitar here. That, combined with the high-fretted riff he plays, creates a real ear-worm of a song. The solo towards the end of the song is just mind-bending, though. It gives me real Jack White vibes. Unbridled, relentless, beautiful carnage. And the album closes on the tender note of “i’ll try.” which seems to be an answer to the opener. It certainly ends on a similar note to the intro, offering a gorgeous guitar rhythm, slow beat and wonderful harmonies from Staten. The perfect end to this eclectic collection of songs.
You can find the full review *HERE*.
the sounds Won't stop Review
A full album release just dropped from Protea gives off a youthful and slightly progressive rock vibe with vast guitar sounds and ambient undertones to go alongside some really melodically catchy vocals and it all rolls together with this sort of sheen that really makes things almost charming.
The self-titled Protea album is brimming with such a lively energy and this mature songwriting style that actually pushes the envelope qute a little bit and makes the songs colorful but not over the top in any way.
This was completely refreshing and the band really shows some personality on the release from all parts but those vocals really have a way of taking you away to whatever off land place they feel like taking you with each song.
But you're always going somewhere with Protea. There is always this kind of adventure to embark on even if it's just in the musical sense, it's there and it's right in your face.
They have their harder hitting or heavier alternative rock songs and those are really good and each song really does have a way to stand on its own however this album is super fun as a whole.
You get some really descriptive lyrics at times that help paint these pictures in your mind and those usually come with some amazingly open and freeing musical aspects and it just feels like every element of this band really clicks together naturally.
Nothing feels pushed. It all has a wonderful and flowing feel to it.
The guitar work on this record is also quite remarkable. Not in an innovative way but in more of an aesthetically perfected way. The work put into the recordings feels intricate and there was much attention to the details here.
Completely worth it as the album is a journey to be taken.
Full Review *HERE*.