In September, Fearless Records put out Florida-based Amely‘s first release, an EP titled Hello World, which featured eight upbeat pop songs with a bit of a different taste than other Fearless bands. Near the end of 2010, the band recorded a live acoustic session where they performed three of those songs: “Hello World,” “Sing To You” (you can find the video of this performance here), and “Come Back To Me.” Along with a new acoustic track, those recordings make up their latest release, the Live Under Lights EP. Though there isn’t much in the way of new material, the EP is an enjoyable listen, as the band fares well in an acoustic setting and the new song has its fair share of catchy hooks. For fans of the band, this should be more than enough to tide them over until they release their debut full-length later in the year.
While I’m not normally a fan of the inclusion of drums on acoustic performances, I found them to be very appropriate here, as they keep Live Under Lights moving in a way that I don’t think that the guitar, bass, and vocals would have allowed on their own. That being said, those elements of the band really shine in this sort of setting, as they have more of an organic feel to them. While the studio versions of these three songs sometimes give the impression that production has helped the band more than necessary, this EP allows them to prove that they are very talented at what they do. In particular, the high-pitched vocals from the end of “Hello World” and the bridge of “Sing To You” that always seemed a bit out of reach are hit by lead singer Petie Pizarro almost effortlessly in the acoustic versions, and the harmonies contributed by guitarist Brandon Walden, bassist Patrick Ridgen, and drummer Nate Parsell throughout the first three songs are rather impressive for a live performance.
The biggest addition to this release is an acoustic version of a new song, “I’m Not Missing You,” which joins the live acoustic versions of the three previously-released tracks to round out the EP. A somewhat different take on the typical breakup song, “I’m Not Missing You” finds Pizarro singing about how he misses everything about being in love, but not his ex or her flaws. The chorus opens with with, “if it hurts to hear at all, I don’t feel a thing now that you’re gone,” suggesting that she did something to hurt him, and this song is his response. This is the only song on the EP to not feature drums, but the choppy chords move the song along and the rhythmic change in the guitars on the line “endless starlit nights” in the chorus is executed particularly well. Overall, it’s a great addition to an acoustic EP, but I’m curious to see how it translates to a full-band version.
As a fan of acoustic music, I’d have to say that I prefer these versions of the band’s older songs to the studio ones. They provide a more natural feel and are a great addition to the Hello World EP. “I’m Not Missing You” fits well with the previous material, while at the same time giving fans a hint of something new. If you already enjoy Amely, this is not a release to miss. If you’re not a fan, give Live Under Lights a listen and it just might change your mind.