24 Sep 2020

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Proximity - Double Single Review: Odyssey and Picnic at Midnight

16 Oct 2019 // A review by Jamie Denton

Fresh-faced talent from Howick College in Auckland’s Eastern suburbs, three-piece rock band Proximity have come out firing on their debut double-single Odyssey and Picnic at Midnight. On these first two tracks, Proximity demonstrate a tight, lean, clear, concise, no-nonsense songwriting maturity that seemingly defies their youth. Different instruments augment each other, providing a powerful bedrock for the smooth, clean, and polished vocals. There is no overplaying here, instead the right parts played by the right instrument to achieve a fantastic whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Opening with a chugging guitar riff that flirts on the fine line between rock and the golden era of early metal, Odyssey, this is a generous slice of riff-heavy rock. While the verses see all instruments lock tight on the riff, Proximity do well to sustain the necessary sonic space to allow the vocals to shine through. Moving deftly from a sludgy, heavy, yet muscular verse riff into a soaring, emotive chorus, this track plays with dynamics in a very subtle way. Again, I am surprised at the maturity of the songwriting at the start of the bridge/solo section: a beautifully delicate, fragile moment of a single note hanging somewhat precariously on the edge, a moment then broken by a blistering guitar solo.

Second single, the enigmatically titled Picnic at Midnight, begins in a way that seems to be almost antithetical to Odyssey. The lean, quick, ‘get straight into the groove’ approach of Odyssey stands in direct contrast to the longer, slower, extended introduction section of Picnic at Midnight. Indeed, a clean, gently picked guitar lies under a haunting guitar melody for nearly a full minute prior to the entry of drums, bass and vocals. I do not mean to imply that this is perceived as a mis-step, but rather to draw contrast to the ‘down to business’ nature of the first track. A Led Zeppelin-esque tom-heavy drum beat provides an intrigue to a fairly straight-ahead verse piece, taking the rhythm to interesting places to counter the relatively simple guitar and bass. The abrupt change, brought about courtesy of a staccato, heavily-distorted guitar that pierces the air, before disappearing, then returning is refreshing and comes at just the right time to propel the song further along.

The double-single Odyssey / Picnic at Midnight is a strong first statement from a band that makes good use of contradictions: young songwriter(s) but mature songwriting, lean tight muscular writing vs sprawling sonic experimentation, fragility vs strength, etc etc. I would implore Proximity to keep pushing new ground, to find their sound (whether that be an adherence to a specific style or an ongoing, ever-expanding diversity), but mostly to just keep on!

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Proximity

Proximity is a Howick College high school trio which was formed by friends in 2018.
With vocals by Sophia and guitar shared by Liam and Cailin, Proximity brings a mix of hard rock music as their main attraction, which is rooted from their inspiration of Metallica, Linkin Park and Disturbed.

Who is Proximity?

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Proximity


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