Pray For The Soul of Betty
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Distributed By: Koch Records
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
I had never watched American Idol in my life on the day that my colleague Jon Minners came over to my house and commandeered my television, forcing me to watch what was the fourth season of a show that I despised for killing my favorite television show, Angel. Not a damn soul stood out to me…not even Carrie Underwood, who eventually won the famed title of American Idol. Nobody that is, except for Constantine Maroulis. One might be shocked to learn that the episode I caught was the one containing the oft-mocked rendition of “I Think I Love You.” But, pink scarf and all, my attention was caught and it didn’t take long for me to stumble upon the information that before his time on American Idol, this man fronted a band. I couldn’t help but investigate.
That band was called Pray for the Soul of Betty, a band name that made me chuckle a bit since my husband has named his favorite chair “Betty” and I can’t imagine praying for our chair’s soul. Despite that, I have to admit, this is a band that needs nobody to pray for it. The band, which consists of Maroulis as the lead singer, Joao Joya on Guitar, Taylor C.R. on the bass, and Hamboussi on drums, submitted a 4-track demo to me for review. 2 out of 4 of the tracks were simply album versions of the radio edits given, but even with only two very different songs to evaluate, I was very happy with what I heard.
The first song, “Cry” is a slower song that builds well and has a very Red Hot Chilli Peppers kind of feel to it. Although Maroulis’ voice is a different kind of voice that Pepper’s Anthony Kiedis, the background music made me think of them immediately and that is definitely a compliment. Maroulis’ voice is something more akin to a mix of Creed's Scott Stap at his lower moments and U2'sBono in his wilder ones. The lyrics on this one are a little repetitive, but this band holds onto your attention tightly enough for the listener not to notice. Besides, the ones that are repeated such as “Slipped inside your world to be a victim of your sympathy” are worth the repetition.
The second song, “Drift” is much harder, a more scream-filled song with a good deal more bass then the first. There are sudden stops in the music and it adds greatly to the drama of the song…this is definitely a trick that I like. This one was a little more “standard hard rock” then the other song, with lyrics like “Close your eyes when you see me coming,” but that’s no insult. There were parts in the middle of the song where the music calmed and the words were whispered and those parts truly blew me away…very nice. Plus, nothing screams “We’re a hard rock band!” more than ending a song with a scream.
With only two completely different songs available on this demo, I fell in love with Pray for the Soul of Betty and can’t wait to hear more. The music is great, the lead vocals are distinct, though not your standard American Idol fare. Fans of music should definitely check this out. Fans of American Idol are in for a surprise, but thankfully, it should be a pleasantly one.
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