Heading East is the third album from Savannah, Georgia based band Niche, newly signed to Kylesa's Retro Futurist label. Comprised of Justin Dick (Guitar/Vocals), Kristopher Maedke-Russell (Guitar/Vocals), Michael Redmond (Bass/Vocals), Lee Vallier (Drums), and Corey Barhorst (Organ/Keys), this quintet draws inspiration from the sounds of the '70s, namely Southern rock, hard rock, and psychedelia, with nods to Wishbone Ash, The Allman Brothers Band, Nektar, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hawkwind, Thin Lizzy, and Steely Dan floating throughout their music. The twin guitar harmonies on "When I'm Gone" and "Exiled to Islands" are just lovely, and there's just enough spacey atmospherics and Hammond organ sprinkled around to add that proggy/psychedelic touch. "On Down the Line" has a rootsy element to go along with a hard rock edge (love the Hammond & Mellotron), while the sultry "Sweet Dear Anne" mixes Argus era Wishbone Ash with the swirling Hammond of those original Allman's albums, with soothing, melodic vocals floating over the top. Raging hard rock comes out on the raucous, Thin Lizzy inspired "Tough and Mean", and the dreamy closer "Days to Come" once again allows the bands psychedelic & prog leanings to come to the forefront, as airy Hammond organ and lilting guitar patterns drift underneath a hazy cloud of effects laden vocals. Any fan of vintage Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, or Eloy will love this near 10-minute tune, which has moments of beauty mixed with nightmarish intensity, and features some sizzling guitar & organ solos.
With so many fantastic young bands out there dabbling in the retro sounds of the '70s, it's getting hard to keep track of them all, but make sure you don't overlook Niche, a truly exciting band that is taking a somewhat different approach to their homage to that wonderful era. Recommended!
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1) Exiled To Islands
2) When I'm Gone
3) On Down The Line
4) Sweet Dear Anne
5) Tough And Mean
6) DaysTo Come