Vote Toby is a band straight out of St Louis, Missouri area. Literally out. They live in Chicago now, hoping to make a name for themselves in a bigger ‘scene’. They’ve been around a couple of years, long enough to generate their first EP, which is immediately tagged as of unnatural proportions (4 songs is an unusual number…it’s usually 3, 5, or 6). How does it sound, you ask? Well, I was getting there….
The “Reply” EP states that the first track is “..And Fall Down”. It opens up with a lengthy, melodic, yet dissonant intro. This sets the stage for the rest of the album, which is rock with a definite emo bent, along the lines of Brand New, but with less edge. The intro dims, and the vocals step into the spotlight. They’re versatile, high and low at different places. They aren’t the most fitting, but they aren’t bad. The breakdown here is the best on the album. “Burn Bright” throws some harder riffs at us before returning to melodic rock for the verses. A second vocalist takes the reins for the chorus, infusing some nice variation into this. Some vocal effects mix it up as well, and this is the best song they offer us. A more straight-forward rock approach opens up “Discarded”. Some parts of this song are cool, like the bass line in one section, but mostly this doesn’t stick out as spectacular. The most problematic part is the vocals, which border on bland. “Today” shows a softer, slower side, but they still keep up the rock. The vocals feel like they are covering the song in some places, but they are impressive in other parts. The bridge was especially nice here.
Overall, this is good. They like to sing and mess with harmonies, effects, and volumes, but they never lose sight of the fact that instruments are just as important. Many bands do, and create lopsided albums that come off as repetitive. There’s nothing all that bad about this album, but there’s nothing that sticks in your mind as well. A valid first effort, Vote Toby has something going here that just needs more developing. Definitely put Vote Toby on your to-watch list. 6.5 out of 10.