Jonny Cola and the A-Grades – Halo by Ben Spencer

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/Label: theinternetatemysoul (Scratchy Records)
Released: 2012

Band Line-up
Jonny Cola: Vocals
Mauro Venegas: Guitar/ backing vocals
Jez Leather: Guitar/ backing vocals
Simon Drowner: Bass
Marco Testa-Ryan: Drums/ backing vocals

Album Track listing
1. Halo
2. Rain Stopped Play
3. Ripples
4. Ship of Fools

So having nurtured an identity from previous records and being credited for conjuring a widespread appeal across genres, Jonny Cola and the A-grades received two nominations at The Pure Rawk Awards. With a firm grasp of story telling: hedonism-in-hardship, they have crafted in a well refined indie rock sound that has become further elaborated upon in this short 4 track offering.

Opening with the pumping bass notes of ‘Halo’ which builds with clean vocals and steady drumming, the chorus comes with a sing-along catchy guitar hooks and backing vocals thrown in to the mix. The guitar solo fits well with the track and showcases a good sense of song writing.

Rain Stopped Play has an infectious drum lead, solid guitar riffs and well written lyrics that make this an instant hit with some interesting lead littered throughout.

Personal standout, ‘Ripples’, has a noteworthy piano intro and soulful clean vocals and drums that fit the bill for any decent rock ballad. The song provides a mournful narrative with “I’m trying to find you, don’t fade away”. As the backing vocals, keys and lead guitar wade their way in, it provides an extra layer of urgency making everything a more believable and intense story.
Closing off with, ‘Ship of Fools’ begins with some lead riffs and acoustic strumming and a strong melodic drive with the vocals touching upon subtle tones that remain consistent throughout.

Overall, a fairly promising release with an all round commercial vibe that is guaranteed to draw in a strong following at live shows. The songs sit well together and the instrumentation is fairly standard with a distinctive rock vibe and memorable guitar hooks. Good work guys.