ACROSS THE BOARD – May 6, 2018
On Friday night, we joined forces with label mate and musical friend JESSICA SPEZIALE to release our albums SONIC BOOM & AWAKENING — at a sold out even in TORONTO at THE HIDEOUT. In spite of a crazy storm and power outage, ambulances flying around outside and car crashes heard in the distances we still had a full house and a rewired sound stage thanks to the brave and inventive crew of Jimmy Good, Cam and Sky at THE HIDEOUT.
Here are some reviews of the album!
Canadian rock band, Across The Board (ATB) releases their album, Sonic Boom, on May 4th. Sonic Boom highlights the highs and lows of the journey to success that many may take throughout their lives.
ATB is composed of Jacqueline Auguste (vocals/keys/string) and Andy Ramjattan (bass guitar), with the aid of supporting musicians Jessica Speziale (backing vocals), Martin Heller (Keys), and Kurt Dickson (drums). ATB was “forged from garage jams and basement Youtube sessions.” Little did they know the success that was soon to follow.
According to the band, Sonic Boom is considered to be “a story of the musical journey of a small town indie artist as she navigates her way through this noisy music industry to realize that the only way to succeed is to believe in yourself and create your best art.” Each song has its own story to tell.
It was written as “a rock opera, with a heroine, an anticlimax and a revelation.” Auguste penned much of the album during the band’s cross-Canada train tour. According to Auguste, she “imagined what it would really take to make it in this music industry… not only the sheer strength and unrelenting work we need to make a mark amidst all the noise but the importance of writing great music that resonates with our fans.”
The album beings with “Sonic Boom”, an uplifting track that radiates positivity. Whether it be the lyrics, the creative use of vocals, or the layering of the guitars to create a catchy melody, this is a track that will capture the attention of the audience. According to the band, ‘Sonic Boom’ describes “the dream of a successful music career and sets the stage for the journey,” as evident through the lyrics “No one’s gonna stand in my way, take the sun from my day, try to rain on my parade – can you hear my sonic boom?!”
My personal favourite is “It Shouldn’t Be This Hard”. There is great use of the acoustic guitars on the verses, with the addition of an electric guitar to add the feeling of intensity during the chorus. The backing vocals add a nice touch to the song as well, increasing the intense feeling of the track. According to ATB, this track explains that not every adventure is without difficulty as Auguste retells meeting “the scammers and the crooks in the music industry and attempts to rise above the deception.”
“No Curtain Call” is stripped down, intimate song that simply uses acoustic guitar and vocals to appeal to the emotion of the listener. The emotion can be heard throughout Auguste’s vocals, as she recounts what it is like playing the last song in a small bar during any given night. According to ATB, this track is likely the “most heart-wrenching and emotional points of the album – the song transports the listener into a small Ontario bar, where patrons are chatting instinctively in the background, paying little attention to the artist, as she realizes that not every cloud has a silver lining.”
The album finishes with “Two Step”, a tune with an interesting start that will definitely capture the attention of the audience. With the creative use of instruments in the background and effects to build up the intensity at the beginning to a point of high energy, this one is sure to be a hit. I especially enjoy the break in the middle of the track, where music slows (before building back up). This is definitely a song that would be great live, as the grand finale with audience participation. According to ATB, this track (written by Darnell Toth and Jessica Speziale) “provides the perfect finale of strength, resolve, championship and victory to conclude the story.” This description sums it up nicely.
Since breaking into the music scene a few years back and releasing their debut album Jane On Fire last year, ATB has been pretty successful. With their single ‘Indifference’ to be “their first track to hit the FM radio waves and launch them to a number one spot on the Reverbnation charts in Canada”and winning the “Akademia Music Award for best pop/rock/Americana song in 2016”, Across The Board are sure to have another great album under their belt. So what are you waiting for, go check it out!
The eight song collection Sonic Boom from Toronto, Canada based Across the Board is their second fill length release and builds on the momentum generated by their preceding effort Amends and the cross Canadian touring that followed. Across the Board are clearly ready to take their ambitions to another level and the songwriting and overall construction of Sonic Boom likewise reflects the higher stakes. Singer/songwriter Jacqueline Auguste labels Sonic Boom a concept album, for all intents and purposes, but she’s much more interested in overarching themes tying the songs together. The musical arrangements are wholly consistent with one another, as well, and the release strikes a satisfying note overall and song by song. It’s notable that Auguste hasn’t penned all of the songs on Sonic Boom, but the covers fit in quite nicely alongside her own songwriting. Across the Board’s Sonic Boom Is one of 2018’s most important releases from any music scene.
I can’t help but be deeply satisfied by the diverse sonic architecture powering what seems to be, initially, a high velocity pop rock album and little more. Even if it were, however, there’s no question that Across the Board has mastered the art of writing and performing five star efforts in that vein. The title song has a relaxed musical mood and an often impassioned singing performance from Auguste while the second cut “Back to the Tracks” is a tune close to the band’s heart and their Canadian identities, but it’s accessible to a wide audience rather than just exerting its appeal on America’s northern neighbor. “It Shouldn’t Be This Hard” is a winner for me, cut in much of the same occasionally knife-edged pop rock that we’ve heard so far, and it’s another example of their talents for writing and delivering a particularly punchy chorus. Those are the kind of things that really stick for a song with me and make everything else around it all the more memorable. Many listeners will, undoubtedly, likewise appreciate how there’s no apparent egos at all working themselves out in these performances. Instead, Across the Board never sounds like anything else than a real band.
Their penchant for upending expectations great and small reaches a peak with the track “No Curtain Call”. The vivid writing, layering of mood and effect, and the stellar musicianship driving this song got under my skin with a first listen and it bears repeated plays to fully appreciate this acoustic change of pace. Across the Board raid U2’s recent history and pluck “Kite” from All That You Can’t Leave Behind out for a reinterpretation that remains faithful enough to the original for some to love it while still elastic enough that the band leaves their own mark on the tune. The track “Two Step” is, perhaps, a little surprising with its raucous rock and roll attack, but it has tremendous verve from the outset and the band even does a convincing hard rock turn at various points in the performance. Sonic Boom will have an explosive impact on Across the Board’s fortunes and one can only hope that the exposure it provides allows them to further expand their touring reach. This can be a very big, international band if enough people hear what they’re doing.
GOGGLE PLUS: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ATBmusicCanada
by Laura Dodero
Any band that has been trying to make it in this wild music industry knows that it takes a tremendous amount of hard work and determination to make progress. We recently discovered Across The Board who definitely have the correct work ethic in place. The Canadian rock band has been putting in the time touring across Canada and getting their sound in front of as many new fans as possible.
On May 4th, Across The Board will release their new record Sonic Boom. The 8 track album is chock full of catchy pop rock songs that will grab the listener. Even more rare for a pop-rock record, Sonic Boom is a concept album that tells a full story. A genuine Rock Opera. Right from the opener “Two Step” you will find yourself feeling the infectious energy.
The title track “Sonic Boom” slows it down a little allowing the elegant voice of Jacqueline Auguste to shine through. Across The Board reaches past the rock energy and deep into your soul with this one. The emotion continues on “No Curtain Call” with a heart-wrenching acoustic rendition that puts the listener right there within the artist’s heart.
The rock journey continues with a romance in “I’ve Already Fallen For You” and shady business deals in “It Shouldn’t Be This Hard.” The closer “Back To The Tracks” ties it all together as the band shares their love and hope for their native Canada on the song written while on a cross-country train ride.
We caught up with the band to get a little deeper into their personal story. Enjoy the interview below:
First off, where did the name Across The Board come from?
Across The Board came from the origins of the band–we started as a band of multi-instrumentalists doing Youtube collaborations with musicians of all ages from 12 to 67! When we decided to start writing our own music and break out of the internet box, we chose Across The Board as our name based on the history of collaborations, multiple genres we were merging together (pop rock roots) and our vision of music as open to artists of any age from any background and genre–coming together to create something brand new.
How would you describe the band’s sound?
We have a mix of pop rock, with a rootsy vibe, that could be called Americana–or alt pop rock, depending on the song — on our new album, SONIC BOOM, the song “Back To The Tracks” is a country rock tune, whereas the title track SONIC BOOM, is more a 90s alt-rock vibe.
Which bands have had the biggest influence on Across The Board?
Our influences are varied and range from Broken Social Scene and Garbage to Walk Off The Earth, Evanescence, The Cranberries, and Fleetwood Mac.
What do you hope for listeners to get out of your music?
This album “Sonic Boom” describes the breaking of a band and the sheer determination and hard work it takes to succeed at any heartfelt endeavor. We hope listeners are inspired to pursue their own creative dreams, at any age, and at any stage in their life, without limits!
Your new album Sonic Boom seems to have a real story within it. Tell us about it?
Sonic Boom is the story of a small town girl with a dream of bringing her music to the big city and all of the trials and tribulations along the way–from the excitement of entering the world of working musicians, to the reality of the negative influences in the music industry, through to heart aches and heart breaks–and finally to the realization that we create our music and art for ourselves first–be true to yourself, and write songs from that truth–and the rest will come in time.
What advice would you have for other bands working hard to build a fanbase?
Publish daily content! Write constantly, take your fans on the journey with you, stop worrying about what you look like or sound like on video–connect–whether in your PJs with a bad a hair day and no makeup, or a fully realized production–be yourself, be real, but be present!
Sonic Boom is the title track from the new album by Canadian rockers Across The Board. The melody feels like a bit of Aimee Mann, and some Chrissie Hynde; it’s a fantastic vocal performance from Jaqueline Auguste. The sound production is enormous, and with a verse beat made of almost all kick and tom, it feels like the drone of a war drum.
Added layers of washed-out electric guitar and a very versatile falsetto keep the mix dialed in to premium pop levels. In between the front-and-center lead vocals, the reverb, and the cheeriness, there is a fashionable energy that makes this song feel like an instant classic. It’s a rallying cry for the new day.
For a free download of the title track SONIC BOOM – CLICK HERE
To purchase the FULL ALBUM: https://acrosstheboardmusic.bandcamp.com/album/sonic-boom-2