Once upon a time in Ireland, a successful businessman named Paul McGuiness quit his job to manage a fledging group who came to call themselves U2. It was a risky move, for the boys were young and raw. But as McGuiness had explained to his wife, “This band has something.” What that “something” was, Paul could not define in words. But as it turned out, he never needed to. U2 took their decidedly quirky musicality and evolved into one of the biggest and most respected bands on the planet.
In a small pocket of the planet known as Central New Jersey, nascent bands bloom and die like crocuses in the spring. Most bands, that is. A few possess that “something” that rattles around in your head and heart like an elusive dream you just can’t verbalize, but that doesn’t mean that the “something” isn’t there. Against the Tide may just possess that “something.”
For its edginess, their sound is alternative rock. But in places, it also bows to danceable melody: a key element usually missing in alternative music’s single-minded pursuit of sounding off-the-beaten path.
Formed in 2009 and performing for audiences in Central Jersey, the Jersey shore, New York City and Philly, the group ran away with First Place in the annual Atlantic City Film & Music Festival Battle of the Bands.
Lead singer Lauren Ashley Grygo fronts Against the Tide with a voice that kaleidoscopes from throaty and sweet to deadpan to pleading, soaring, and whispery. Listening to Lauren is a bit like gazing at actress Ellen Page on screen. You know that there are more classically beautiful actresses, but there’s something about Ellen that is lovely, honest, and arresting. Lauren Ashley Grygo’s voice is like that.
On lead guitar, Dave Madura’s slashing, ringing riffs are reminiscent of a young Edge, who was forced to take a stratospheric and decidedly innovative approach to his box. Kevin Reviello authoritatively commands the drums, Mike “Mazz” Mazzeo thrums a keen bass, and Mike “Skatz” Scasserra pulls it all together on rhythm guitar.
Given the growing base of fans who love their music, and now flying under Reverbnation’s label, this band may not be swimming Against the Tide much longer.