SIMO at Volcanic
Wed, Oct 25 at 9pm
Rise & Shine, SIMO’s new album, widens their sound, as the band stretched beyond preconceived notions and produced a nuanced record reflecting their views, talents and ultimately their growth. The album began taking shape on the road, where SIMO's three bandmates — singer, guitarist and namesake frontman JD Simo; drummer Adam Abrashoff; and bassist Elad Shapiro — spent most of 2016 on tour. They played 215 shows that year, leaving behind their Nashville headquarters and traveling to nine different countries in support of their Billboard Top 10 blues album, Let Love Show the Way. The trio worked on new music along the way, hashing out chord changes in hotel rooms and tweaking song arrangements during soundcheck. It was a time of growth and self-improvement for everyone, and they became better friends, better musicians, and better people. At the same time, the outside world was changing. Political pundits were screaming at one another. Elections were pitting candidate against candidate, party against party, neighbour against neighbour. The need to write music that truly meant something — music that not only demonstrated the band's explosive chops, but also sent a clear message — was greater than ever. "This is an album about change," says Elad, who joined the band in 2015. "We looked at what's been happening in our own lives, as well as what's been happening in the world. Everyone is changing: personally, politically, socially. We've seen it. We've felt it. And we're writing about it." Rise & Shine introduces the band's elastic, expanded sound, which blurs the lines between genres and generations throughout the album's 11 tracks. SIMO's previous release, Let Love Show the Way, was a spot-on salute to the band's rock & roll influences, full of big amplifiers, vintage vibe, and plenty of volume. Rise & Shine doesn't ignore those roots, but it pushes toward something new. Eager to explore uncharted territory, the guys make room for slow-smoked soul ballads ("I Want Love"); psychedelic desert-rock instrumentals ("The Climb"); hard-edged, bluesy barn burners ("Light the Candle"); and Stax-worthy funk rockers ("Meditation"). Gluing everything together is the charisma and chemistry of three musicians who spent more than 300 days together last year, mastering the art not only of nodding to the past, but looking ahead to the future too.