While not as well-known as many of today's rock darlings, Digital Summer may have bested them all with their new collection of acoustic re-imaginings of songs from their catalog, as well as some new compositions. As acoustic albums go, After Hours: Unplugged & Rewired is an outstanding example of how to completely knock it out of the park.
Digital Summer, made up of vocalist Kyle Winterstein, guitarists Ian Winterstein and Jon Stephenson, and bassist Anthony Hernandez, are poised to breakout with this ultra-accessible set that exposes their strength as songwriters and versatile musicians.
The opening track, a new, pop-leaning, semi-balladic rocker, "This City," would be a Top 10 hit today if it was released by Daughtry. Clean, sparkling acoustic guitar, paired with a melodic verse vocal, builds to a radio-ready chorus that sounds like an ode to both the good and bad of Phoenix, Arizona.
Some of Digital Summer's heavier material, including "Forget You," a standout track from their most recent release, Breaking Point, still comes across as heavy in an acoustic setting—an impressive feat. Between the in-your-face production and the aggressive attack on the acoustic guitars, the full weight of the band's performance is brought to bear on each song. The stripped-down arrangements allow the lyrics to take center stage, but the instrumental performances are equally powerful. The subtle-but-strong percussion is augmented by electronica, sounding like an infusion of the Winterstein brothers' side project, Tragedy Machine.
Though the entire album is potent, highlights include the aforementioned "This City" and "Forget You," as well as "Shallow," "Dance In The Fire," "Morphine," "Broken Halo," and new songs "Closer To Me" and "Demons."
After Hours: Unplugged & Rewired track listing:
- This City
- Forget You
- Closer To Me
- Dance In The Fire
- Use Me
- Whatever It Takes
- Broken Halo
- Sweet Misery
- Worth The Pain