While a few local bands might take a generic radio-inspired sound to the next level, the rest usually fall flat and find themselves at a standstill in their musical journey. However, as with anything in life, there are the exceptions and Arkansas progressive rock band pmtoday are proving they are the exception to the Arkansas music scene rule, especially with the bold new steps they took on their recently released sophomore album “In Medias Res.”
Pmtoday are no strangers to the local music scene, as they have played all over the states for almost a decade. Their debut album, “And Then The Hurricane,” was self-released and featured an inclination of the musical turn the band was about to take away from the mainstream pop-punk. They even avoided taking up the southern rock trend that fluttered through NWA for a few years.
But with “In Medias Res,” the Arkansas boys take their progressive, guitar-driven post-hardcore rock to the next level. The overall sound is not too different from that of previous pmtoday efforts. The songs flow effortlessly from one song to the other. The lyrical inspiration is one not often found — the idea that every person is a machine carries throughout the album. However, it is the musical ability of these young 20-somethings that captures listeners and steals the show for the entire album.
Guitarists Connor and Cuinn Brogan use progressive, ambient effects along with stylistic and pure talented sweeping, picking and tapping to give listeners a melodic, technical rock sound that some have possibly never heard before. The band can blend hooks and mind-blowing technical guitar work into a three- or four-minute song that will simply blow you away at the way.
Though the guitar work has improved on “In Medias Res,” it was still phenomenal on pmtoday’s previous efforts. On this latest effort, however, the rhythm section has kicked into an even higher gear with the drums blasting harder and the bass producing stronger riffs to go hand-in-hand with the guitar work.
The main difference with pmtoday’s sound on this album is the slower jams. Tracks such as “Don’t Exist” and “I Am Wrong” turn down the guitar amps while still keeping the technical skill going and find vocalist Connor and Ryan lowering their vocals just a bit to give listeners the perfect blend of a soft rock melody hardly found in today’s scene.
“In Medias Res’” sound might not venture far from the genre pmtoday have been grouped with (they are signed to Rise Records, which is known for having some truly awful, generic bands on their label). But, it is a wonder to this columnist how pmtoday have not blown up rock radio yet.
Brian Washburn is the founder of DBW and is currently working on a way to revolutionize the music industry.