Album Review: Tenyson - 'Audiobug'.
Tenyson are a London based three-piece who play what could loosely be described as ‘alternative hard rock/grunge’, with a sound that is a cross between a progressive Foo Fighters and a ballsy Feeder. Built around the not inconsiderable talents of vocalist and guitarist Rob Jupp, the band feature the classic power-trio aesthetic of guitar, bass, drums and vocals delivered with maximum power and minimal fuss. ‘Audiobug’ is their debut release, and it’s a fitting title, for at times, it gets right in your ear, and under your skin.
As an introduction, the EP does exactly what it should; showcasing the best of what the band have to offer in a concise manner. Currently available as a digital release, the four tracks collectively clock in at just under fifteen minutes. Of the four, opener ‘Long Regrets’ is the strongest track; a hard driving number reminiscent of mid-nineties mainstream metal, and a time when the traditional elements of the genre were struggling to find an identity. To some this might sound like a criticism, however there were some great releases that got lost during metal’s lean period, and Tenyson’s material is highly evocative of some of them. There are obvious similarities with Scott Gorham’s 21 Guns, and Adrian Smith’s Psycho Motel for example; the guitar heavy, blues-based soloing and slick licks, the powerhouse drumming and anchoring basslines, however it’s Jupp’s distinctive tones which also conjure those acts. With a rough, hard living, but melodic timbre, much like Hans-Oliva Soli, who fronted both those bands, Jupp’s style is the band’s real asset, and is a pleasure to listen to.
‘Another Love Song’ also highlights Jupp’s infectious voice. A quiet bit/heavy bit slice of grunge balladry, although a little formulaic, it is none the less a catchy and solid number that hints most strongly at the influence of Dave Grohl’s early post-Nirvana work. When it kicks off, it does so with gusto, in contrast to its acoustic melodious verses. The layered guitars in the song’s lead break meanwhile are measured and sit perfectly with the material, despite the fact that Jupp is clearly capable of doing so much more. A thoroughly competent guitarist with an unlikely picking style in the tradition of the old blues men - using his fingers rather than a plectrum - his skills shine throughout, and none more so than on the upbeat ‘Sleeping With Emily’. With its eastern-flavour, specifically on the song’s verses and especially during its exotic Adrian Smith style soloing, it’s also the most urgent sounding song on the EP.
It’s not perfect however, and the anomaly is the closing ‘Nunchuck’. With its title, opening crashing gong and cod-Asian riffing, it’s the grunge track that plainly tips its hat to the far-east. As if to hammer home the point, the track also recycles the lick from The Vapors’ ‘Turning Japanese’. Only a juxtaposing Feeder-esque chorus and a riff as heavy as a sumo wrestler rescue the song from becoming too much of a pastiche.
Overall, ‘Audiobug’ is an extremely competent release from a band with ideas, and more importantly, songs. The physical version of the EP, which is due for release imminently, adds new single ‘Serpent Queen’ which shows that Tenyson have been honing their craft as song writers. It all points to a promising future for the three-piece. Check them out on Amazon, ITunes, YouTube and all the usual portals.
First published on uberrock.co.uk, 22 January 2015.