Named to indicate a multi-headed driving force and a multi-dimensional sound, Hydra Melody is a synth-and-keys-heavy alt-rock outfit from San Antonio.
This ambitious and talented quintet of musicians, with its core trio of Jordan Berlanga (lead vocals, guitar, keys), Matt Gomez (drums) and Manny Prince (percussion, keys), drops its début LP, Nocturna, as part of the Empire Theatre and Freetail Brewing Company's Local Sounds Downtown program.
This special release will only be available in hard copy for the moment — and only to those who attend the show. While the record should see wide national distribution before year's end, there's good reason to cop the early physical release.
Though Hydra Melody's original three members began jamming in high school back in the early-mid aughts, a recent convo the band had with the San Antonio Current revealed that shit really got cooking after the release of a solid, self-titled 2011 EP.
At this time, following the departure of three of the band's six early members, Taylor Ferguson and Jason Harari joined the band, on lead guitar/keys and bass/vocals respectively.
Berlanga explained that the additions of Ferguson and Harari quickly proved fruitful, taking the band's sound "to where it always should have been."
And one listen to Nocturna shows that this is indeed an album by a band that has found its sound. The sound is cinematic yet brooding, angsty yet patient, and, from start to finish, it's a perfectly executed and elegantly polished alt-rock gem that vastly improves on the group's initial outing.
Two clear reasons for this improvement arose in our conversation.
First, the band, which already practices three times per week or more, took two extended writing retreats that allowed members new and old to bond musically and otherwise.
"Leaving our collective comfort zone and at the same time becoming more comfortable with each other and being able to just focus on music was huge," Harari explained.
The second major breakthrough for the band involved securing Will Pugh, from pop-punk band Cartel, to produce Nocturna and help the group distill some of its raw inspiration.
According to Ferguson, "[Pugh's] outside perspective on these songs was the final element the album needed."
Whether it's a product of a band finally hitting its stride and stepping out of its comfort zone, or a product of patience and a custom-fit producer, Hydra Melody is ready for huge things with Nocturna.
8pm, Sat, July 18, Empire Theatre, 226 N. St. Mary's, (210) 226-5700, majesticempire.com
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