Alternative rock band, Eleven Dollar Bills broke out of Chicago and veered towards the national scene via Los Angeles paying their dues along the way and performing on stages from New York to LA, including The Viper Room, The Craftsman in Santa Monica, and Sayers’ in Hollywood. With Berklee College of Music alumnus, Jordan Casty, at the helm the band has been riding atop “Waves,” the first single from their EP entitled “All Our People”. Produced in Los Angeles, by multi-platinum songwriter/guitarist Jim Huff, “Waves” was co-written with BMI Award-winning Danish songwriter, Rune Westberg.
When Eleven Dollar Bills emerged with their debut, it was clear that they were always going to break boundaries. They took elements of blues, indie, acid and classic rock and infused them with alternative and even some southern flavors. In comparison, their new EP harbors all those qualities plus a more confident disposition, giving fans a real taste of the band’s true personality, beneath the layers of aesthetic appropriation. The Bills’ music truly slices across multiple eras of rock. “All Our People” is filled with abundant hooks, pushy guitars and big choruses.
The band works up a stomping, snare-pounding fury right from the start of the opening track, “Go”, and hardly let up thereafter. That Eleven Dollar Bills is a multifaceted band quickly becomes clear on “Waves”, as they bring in all the sunny pop vibes they can find to fit their rock manteau, and they do it without being derivative or unoriginal.
But it’s the title track, “All Our People” that gives me the proverbial kick up the backside. If it’s true at all that rock and roll has been slipping, this track is a refreshing reminder of what once existed – a driving rhythm, a solid melody, powerful vocals, and enough peaks and valleys to keep the Adrenalin flowing to each climax point.
“Hold My Hand” is another nostalgic trip for me, steeped in rich warm layers of harmony and thick guitar lines, the intoxicating melody thrives on every note and sound that surrounds it. Hardly has a band so exuded the sweet juices of classic rock styles while managing to retain its own distinct modern flavor. “1,2,3” brings a balladry reprise and gives the Jordan Casty just enough time to forge a crystalline falsetto and sweet harmony before swinging into the full-blooded, acoustic guitar driven freight train rhythm of “Need Your Love”.
There is every possibility that “All Our People” is going to be met with instant acclaim, especially if you got into Eleven Dollar Bills through their debut release. Many will find the blend of constructed and raw aesthetics of this album to be very alluring. The band has proved their commitment to evolution in a tight and admirable way, without abandoning all of what got them their following to begin with.
Gone is the sludgy production sound and the loose psychedelic world of “Change Your Mind” or “Water On The Road”, replaced with an emotive and brewing development that focuses more on careful buildup, instrumental precision and pristine production. Eleven Dollar Bills have officially grown up with “All Our People”, and just about anybody who understands how three little chords are put together will appreciate the band’s metamorphosis into ‘think first’ musicians, ready for the A-League.
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Author: Jacob Aiden
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