Band: Optimus Rex
From St. Louis comes alt-pop-rockers Optimus Rex who just released their latest 9 Track CD entitled “Embers” in 2015. Optimus Rex are Songwriter Nick Stergos and Bassist Jeremy Carpenter have been churning out music together in and around St. Louis since 2001. Right from the start it might be easy to just categorize these 2 as a straight ahead “dime a dozen” alt-rockers and write them off as the newest trending band around St. Louis. It wouldn’t be wise, though. Sure, if you listen to some of their more catchier moments within this 9 song CD: (Fate Smiles) that might be the impression one might get. However there is a method to their madness. There are some really well crafted, good songs on Embers that dare to step outside the modern rock music boundaries. As a vocalist Stergos is not afraid to color outside the lines musically and bare his true soul to the world. Some of the lyrics are powerful and I believe he believes every word he sings. Of course much of this goes against the grain of modern day pop-rock with many feel has lost its way by leaving its soul at the studio door in an attempt to please the corporate music world. As a result the writing style really opens up the CD emotionally. This enhances the listening experience rather than limit it for me. So there’s really not a lot about Optimus Rex that’s “dime a dozen” is there. Zeroing in on their sound these 5 are obviously experienced at performing, producing and writing music, but its how the music is delivered that makes these latest songs stand out from other artists and bands. I mean we take a lot for granted between the lines and notes and although some would claim there’s nothing here that hasn’t been said or done before – if you listen to the songs carefully the devil is in the details. Perhaps that is why Optimus Rex is on our radar screens in the first place. Bottom line is he makes it all look too easy. Forgive me if I’m talking in circles – but some bands and artists can deliver music that’s pretty straight forward, conservative and painfully simple. Yet brilliant in scope. Furthermore in lieu of the amazing new CD by Optimus Rex it almost feels as if they are really on to something. “Embers” is a one of a kind CD from a one of a kind band that’s closely tied to classic rock even folk rock pop. Despite this it has a more modern alt-rock sound. I hate to pigeonhole but I can hear the The Postal Service, The Decembrists, Stars, The Shins and a bit of Modest Mouse.
Top Tracks: Gutless, Eyes Ahead, Misery
Optimus Rex will please a wide range of musical personalities in the process of their exposure. Sure it’s possible that future releases will demonstrate additional music and an increased musical molding or identity developing. Many bands start off sounding like another act in a descript way only to develop their trademark sound later. But when “Embers” runs its course one walks away feeling that Optimus Rex is on to something special.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
– Mark McFadyen