ABOUT THE BAND
SPR is a radio-friendly rock band proudly hailing from Boston, MA. With a distinctly modern sound, SPR\'s style and swagger are all plucked from the 1970\'s. These Self-Proclaimed Rockstars (hence, SPR) treat every stage as though it were the Boston Garden, delighting audiences with performances that are every bit as theatrical as they are musical.
Four of SPR\'s five members sing; however, the most gifted is their charismatic frontman Johnny Malone. His smooth, soulful, and charming vocals strut between guitarist Mick\'s seemingly endless array of riffs. Across the stage, keyboardist Jarret Izzo\'s fingers dance across the keys, furiously filling up the sound. Justin Steuer (bass) and Matteo Bilz (drums) keep the songs energetic with the tight backbeat that made them former Emergenza national finalists with the band Brookfield.
SPR worked hard in 2007 and it paid off. They attracted hundreds of loyal and energetic fans to shows all over Cambridge and Boston. Playing as the official tailgating band for Boston College football certainly helped. Each home game, they played to a crowd of thousands in front of Alumni Stadium, and gained national attention when a performance was featured on ESPN\'s College Gameday.
In 2008, the band released their debut LP, \"This is Rock.\" and with it, served notice to the scene -- they\'re making a run at the throne and won\'t stop until they are the undisputed kings of rock in the city they love -- Boston
ABOUT THE ALBUM
\"This is rock.\", the debut album from SPR (the Self-Proclaimed Rockstars) is an LP straight out of the old school.
The whiny, diary-page lyrics of today\'s so-called \"rock\" bands are nowhere to be found. Instead they are replaced with existential stories of life in middle class purgatory; where people spend their time trying to get out, trying to get drunk, trying to get laid and just plain trying to get by.
The album opens with the energetic and riff-heavy \"Used to Be King\". The song sets the tone for the whole album, as the band nostalgically recalls their better days and try to plot a return to glory. Singer Johnny Malone immediately puts his range on display as his vocals come in soft and bluesy only to soar as he defiantly belts out his belief that \"I will rise again!\"
The soaring stops on the band\'s second track, \"Bella\" as Malone pens a sleazy and soulful ode to his \"Cinderella lady on a pole.\" Mick, the band\'s guitarist, lays down a dirty and decadent dance floor that evokes visions of sin with each passing note.
The album warms up considerably for \"Meet Me On the Way\" a catchy light-hearted romp about hooking up with old flames. The track breezily features the album\'s most infectiously catchy vocal work, bookending each chorus. The warmth carries into the album\'s next track -- \"Sweet Clarity Sue\" -- a dreamy power-ballad about secret admirers and unrequited love. The song offers the album\'s first genuine insight to the depth of vocal talent within SPR as keyboardist Jarret Izzo, Malone and Mick all weave into and out of each other\'s vocals during the song\'s climactic bridge.
In \"Cul-de-sac\", Izzo takes over the microphone and paints a seedy picture of a not-so-innocent suburban neighborhood that he distrusts but can\'t escape. His words seem to rouse Malone, who comes roaring back in with \"Whisky\" - a song about one of the oldest past-times amongst men -- drinking your pain away. Malone and Mick each take a turn demanding with a swagger that their bartender give them \"the strongest thing that ya got,\" to cure what ails them as Izzo slams away on his keyboard with drunken aggression.
Izzo takes a slightly more optimistic spin on the subject of alcoholic elixirs as he recalls his youth in Buffalo, NY drinking at a tavern owned by \"Eddie Brady.\" Much like the nightclubs where Izzo has honed his craft, the song starts soft and slow and by the end he has the whole place rockin and \"singin \'bout love and drinks again.\"
Malone comes back on the next track to lead us into \"Temptation\" as he unapologetically tells a friend-with-benefits that there\'s no future for them. Unamused with his tryst\'s emotions, Malone dismissively reminds her that, \"you did that, I did this, let\'s just call this what it is.\" As Malone and his fling argue, Izzo\'s keyboards and Mick\'s guitar seem to bicker back and forth as well with acerbic call-answer rhythms that pull the song forwards.
Mick takes his only lead vocals of the album in the acoustic, \"Hollywood (Anne\'s Song)\". With Izzo\'s organs setting the mournful tone, Mick tells the story of his friend Anne with whom he once dreamed of going to Hollywood. Unable to make the trip, Mick sends her off while he becomes mired in debt and is forced to stay behind. Anne doesn\'t survive Hollywood and it\'s clear that the guilt eats Mick alive as he emotionally tells her that he\'s sorry he \"wasn\'t there to help you hold on.\"
The album\'s closing track, \"Park Street Interlude\", opens with a minute long piano solo from Izzo before roaring in to a layered symphony of guitars and keys. Malone is back on lead vocals to remind us that, although he\'s willing to share it, it\'s still his microphone and he owns it with this soft tale of trying to close out a date in front of a Boston train station. As Malone describes \"the smell of anticipation [that] has overwhelmed the air in front of Park Street station,\" you\'d swear you can smell it yourself.
Seemingly over, the album sneaks back in with a mischievous hidden track in \"Cover Me\". Izzo leads the way through this Paul Simon-esque ode to compatibility, reminding the object of his affection that \"we got a good thing goin.\" Mick and Malone join Izzo on this line to close the album, the band\'s only unison-vocal of the record. Poignant, as you sense that SPR truly does have a good thing goin, and they know it.