It’s been a mere year since the release of “Sleeping Giant,” but Manchester England’s Bauer is back again with a new set of tracks to get pumped up about.
If their name sounds familiar you’ve likely been hearing them on PRP or maybe streaming on Spotify. Or perhaps you’ve run across them on Twitter, where they boast some 45,000 followers. Formed in 2006, they have a sound a bit like Coldplay or Keane, and sometimes…even better. Bauer’s lead singer Greg Matthews pens half their songs solo, co-writing the rest with band members Michael Reed and Neil Treppas.
“Signs” is the track that opens their second release like a massive, musical missive. It features Matthews crisp, soul-searching vocals atop a powerful driving guitar rhythm that will hook you.
Is this ordinary rock n’ roll, or a magical, musical transmission from some peaceful, powerful place you just wanna hang out in all day? We wanted to get the scoop about their newest tour de force and thought an interview was called for.
First off, are all the songs new, or have they been in the repertoire a while?
“It’s a real mishmash of tracks from different time periods,” explained lead guitar player Michael Reed via email. Reed also plays for The Mutineers and teaches guitar in his spare time. “We worked quite hard to make it flow like a “proper” studio album and have been pretty pleasantly surprised at how many people that are new to the band don’t even realize the nature of the release.”
It’s true: from beginning to end, the new album does seem to flow quite naturally. Good job, guys.
“Hush now baby while I write this song” is a great line, and so begins “Isn’t It a Perfect World,” a powerhouse of a track seemingly destined for commercial success.
Acoustic, intimate “The Lights Go Down” is new musical territory for the band; it was actually a B-side to one of their singles. “It’s quite a rare track, and we felt it deserved a wider audience,” says Reed.
“Starting Again” Sparkles
Does a moviegoer whose never seen “The Empire Strikes Back” enjoy “Return of the Jedi” as much as someone who has? That’s the sorta question comes to mind listening to Bauer’s “Starting Again (Dub Mix)” remix from Bauer’s “Sleeping Giant” release.
Reed says it “was remixed by the band, not an outbound producer, so it does show another side to the band, the electronic influences that Greg really brings in from time-to-time.” That’s promising news for Bauer fans since it portends what many were already guessing: this is a talented band that plays and works well together.
No doubt fans and newbies alike will go nuts for the lush makeover, debating the question: Does the old version make you appreciate the new version more — or is it the other way ’round? Let us know when you get it figured out.
Suffice it to say, based on “Starting Again” the band could probably re-mix the entire set of “Sleeping Giant” tracks into a new “Bauer Re-mixed” CD and have another great product to market.
Bauer is: Greg Matthews (lead singer), Neil Treppas (bass), Michael Reed (guitar) and Lee Bradbury (drums). Reed’s parents are both musicians and he’s played guitar all his life
; commanding lead-singer Matthews has a lovely, praiseworthy vocal range; Bradbury shines on drums and Treppas is a School of Sound Recording graduate with his own recording studio. From the looks of their sparse music-related web pages they spend most of their time at gigs and recording, and not much time self-promoting. So far the band has released one EP, two singles and two albums.
Another Album Highlight: “Breathing Out Fire”
If a big rock/pop sound with lots of layers is to your liking, you’re sure to love “Breathing Out Fire” and its followup, “Unbreakable.” Great chord changes, Matthews’ passionate vocals and Reed doing some tasteful guitar work make both tracks exemplary. “Breathing Out Fire” is from Bauer’s “early days,” says Reed. It’s as appealing as they come, and deserving of commercial success. With its blazing spunk and great arrangement, “Gone” is another track that merits attention.
Who mixed and mastered the new release? “It was done in a variety of places,” says Reed. “A big shout-out goes out to Neil Treppas who had the task of mastering all the tracks for these different time periods to make them all fit…which isn’t the easiest job in the world,” adds Reed. “Also Mark Sturgess and Soundstation (recording studio), and Mark Compton, who produced “Perfect World,” deserve a mention.”
On Getting Wider Airplay
Has touring brought the band most of its fan base or have some media outlets been particularly supportive in England? “It’s been a long process…in terms of finding the ready audience, we’re not a fashion band or a music industry corporate band,” says Reed. “We’re 100 percent independent, and we rely on good songs, great musicianship and the help of people like yourselves – the bloggers, website people, underground press (who) have been great supporters of us since around the “Sleeping Giant” sort of time – and they’re true, passionate music fans.”
“It’s no coincidence that the music industry and mainstream media in the main ignores Bauer,” continues Reed, “that’ll be because we’re not hot-off-the-press and the big new thing…which is all wrong, really, because the music is superb, and deserves a wider audience.” We couldn’t agree more, though we think it’s more likely the music industry just hasn’t heard them yet.
To Sum Up
The song likely to be most-loved by fans? Hands-down, the “Starting Again” remix. Best odds at radio airplay? Put your money on “Signs” with its great musical aura, “Unbreakable” for its superb big-stadium sound, and “Breathing Out Fire” with a lovely vibe that still lets us rock out.
In the Cards
What’s the future hold for this promising young band from a town that’s produced so many successful Indie performers? “With the 3rd album we’re looking to make something that is really strong all the way through – possibly our best record,” says Reed. “The early signs are very positive. The songs are harder-edged, more emotive, full of passion and produced in a more intelligent and streetwise way.”
Doesn’t seem like things could possibly get much better than they are, so it’s exciting that Bauer thinks they will.
In the meanwhile, “Lose All Memory” constitutes great musical company for we Oregonians enduring winter’s gloom – and, is a great affirmation of this band’s continuing momentum.
Where to Find Bauer’s Music
For those needing brand-new music for holiday gift-giving or to help ring in the New Year, look for “Lose All Memory” on iTunes.
If you’re curious about “Sleeping Giant” – Bauer’s release from last year – “Connected” is a popular track with an official music video out:
Another excellent blast from Bauer’s past? “Starting Again.”
Thanks, Bauer! Keep pressing on, we’re rooting for you.
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