Album Review: The Product - "So Alive" EP

Since the release of their debut “Break the Silence,” we’ve seen independent (not to be confused with “indie,”) band The Product come a long way. Their debut was high on effort but not entirely a finished product (pardon the pun.) This new EP finds the band at a greater stage of maturity and musical evolution, more befitting a band in this modern rock revolution.

The Product has made two critical decisions that make this new EP “So Alive” work toward their objective. First of all, they managed to maintain their rock and roll roots without becoming sugary, plastic or forced. There’s no sense of unfounded entitlement or the generic themes that so plague so much of radio rock. Now, make no mistake; the cuts from “So Alive” would be perfectly at home on alternative radio, but they are not the hollow, manufactured rock that has streamed forth from corporate bands in the past, oh, decade or so.

Secondly, the decision to release another EP, as opposed to a full album, keeps the band within their scope. As an act still trying to define and hone their sound, a full-length would have stretched the limits and caused the half dirty/half rock sound to be overdrawn at the bank. Sticking to six songs for “So Alive” lets the band focus on a single idea and allows their personality to shine through.

Listen to “Light It Up,” and you get the idea. The band makes their first sound not only their best sound, but their statement. The stylized guitar intro makes way for the simple, effective lead riff that harmonizes nicely in the hook chorus, against the backbone of the gutsy bass line. Further on down is “Memory,” a song that hits like a would-have-been Saliva single if the latter band were more rock and less metal. These moments make The Product’s continually evolving talent clear.

The knock on “So Alive” is that it could have been even more. Not in the sense that there should be more songs (as we covered earlier,) but in the sense that the band could have really taken the shackles off and exploded. There is a feeling of tentative restraint on parts of “So Alive,” as a song like “Out of Control” is forceful and direct, but not actually ‘out of control.’

It’s also worth noting that nothing the Product has composed here will change a fan’s already established opinion of modern alternative rock. “So Alive” doesn’t bend genres or re-invent the wheel in any meaningful way. (Not that it had to.)

The Product is continuing their journey toward rock and roll dominance and doing it on their own terms, which is admirable. Their singles have started to creep slowly into mainstream media, being featured in the mysteriously popular “Jersey Shore” and as the theme song for a TNA wrestling event. It’s a long road to hoe, and much like after “Break the Silence,” The Product still has work to do. But they’ve learned a lot, come a long way, and are nearly cresting the hill of where they want to be. Keep an eye out, this is likely not the last we’ve heard from this band.

M. Drew

Music Editor

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