On the surface the concept seems kind of odd. A successful cover band sets out to write and record five original songs over the course of five successive Saturdays. What business does a cover band have writing and recording original work? I mean, if they are any good, why are they a cover band?
(Disclosure: I was given a pre-release copy of Five Saturdays by A Band of Ninjas in exchange for my review. Also, the guy who plays guitar may have bought my frozen yogurt once.)
A Band of Ninjas has been delighting audiences around California’s Monterey Bay for years now. The band is made up of Brian Coehlo (Qway-Low) on vocals and Orion Williams on guitar and background vocals. Their renditions of popular hits from the last couple of decades are worth your time to seek out on YouTube. Or better yet, if you find yourself in the Monterey, CA area, hit up a show.
Their original project, aptly named Five Saturdays, is now available on all the major services. The project was born out of a commitment to their followers to write one original tune a week for five weeks. What came of that is found on Five Saturdays. Of course, a cover band writing and recording original songs is bound to break the rules wherever possible. Therefore, six songs emerged.
Five Saturdays kicks off with the playful but thought provoking Superhuman. That’s followed up with Little Things. Coehlo’s vocals really shine in Little Things. The pace of the lyrics speeds up in spots and Coehlo’s pitch and delivery is spot on. At the midpoint of the album, Don’t Count Me Out demands your ear. Its one of those songs that halfway through, you’ll want to restart and give your full attention. The snappy Disappointed, Kid really showcases A Band of Ninjas. Coehlo and Williams harmonize perfectly and Williams’ guitar can’t be ignored. When you stop and realize that all that sound is coming from one acoustic guitar, you can begin to grasp the level of talent the Ninjas bring to their music.
Speaking of ninjas, their secretive yet deadly nature sparks intrigue and fascination amongst people of all ages. How convenient then that we are privileged to get acquainted with A Band of Ninjas. In the track titled What’s It Like (To be a Ninja), we are treated to an inside look of the life of a Ninja. The sixth and final track is the real gem of the entire project. A Dying Light opens with a haunting bass line that makes you forget there is only an acoustic guitar at work. Coehlo sings with a passion that can only come from someone who is singing a song they’ve lived.
Five Saturdays will leave you wondering why this duo of assassins bothers with cover songs. Pick up the project from the music service of your choice and then catch them at a show. They are known to take requests. Demand these tracks. You won’t be disappointed.