In 2007, Ashley, Adam, and Austin Clark (known as The Clark Brothers) won a battle-of-the-bands contest called “The Next Great American Band.” Created by the same mastermind of “American Idol,” the TV program awarded The Clark Brothers with a record contract and the band soon embarked on their musical journey. Fast-forward 3 years later and The Clark Brothers are now Sons of Sylvia.
“Revelation” is the trio’s debut full-length album and it’s a decent showing from the evolving group. The record could be accurately described as mainstream pop-rock with shades and flavors of alt. country and bluegrass. The first three tracks on the album are easily the strongest of the bunch. The opener, “John Wayne,” is perhaps the most notably country tune, showcasing Adam Clark on mandolin, Austin Clark on the dobro and lead singer Ashley Clark on the fiddle. The next track, “Love Left to Lose,” was recently performed by the band on “American Idol.” The title track is a stand-out with its deep lyrics: “I was born the day John Lennon died/The newspaper said he never got to say goodbye/Crazy how you can have everything but time.” Ashley showcases his superb vocals with some falsetto during the bridge, reminiscent of Trevor Rabin during his years with Yes. Most fans would say that they love the following track, “50 Ways,” but I still can’t get past its overt and forced pop sound. “Song of Solomon” is a tenderhearted tune which borrows its message from the book of the Bible which shares its name. “Give Me Love” is decent, while “Ghost Town” is the biggest disappointment, lacking in musical style and substance. “Long Beach” is a sweet, but somber, love song and “I’ll Know You” sadly over-does it in the orchestral arrangement department. However, the album closer, “The War Within” makes up for any faltering with a heavy, deep, and impressive telling of the end of the world. I read a comparison of this song to U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky.” While I wouldn’t go near as far to say the same, I can hear similar elements in both.
“Revelation” is heading in the right direction, but as someone who has heard Sons of Sylvia’s potential, I know that they can do much, much better. My hope is that these brothers would continue to grow and would make believers out of their music by producing an album which doesn’t hold back on their amazing musicianship or their southern roots.