If somebody says that they listen to a particular genre, often they’ll actually stay within a certain sub-genre in their listening. Country fans might gravitate to the Nashville school, rap audiences sometimes just stick with old-school artists, and there are numerous divisions in electronic styles that attract many kinds of admirers. But perhaps no genre has a broader range of listeners than rock. Classics, heavy metal, grunge, and post-punk are all gathered under the “rock” heading in that they rely on the same basic instruments and similar musical conventions. Generally, all rock listeners are used to amplified guitars with support from basses and drums. Rhythm is often held central, and lyrics usually focus on personal struggles and relationships. Yet these sub-genres could hardly be more unique. Some involve screaming singers, some are instrumental, and some are centered around the darkest subject matters in music.
But few sub-genres have done more to advance rock than alternative. Arising in the 80s and 90s as a spiritual descendant of punk, alternative music comes from the underground music scene. Featuring distorted sounds and punk-like themes of nonconformity, alternative has become something of a gateway for numerous artists over the years as they made the transition from obscurity to mainstream renown.
1fm, whose debut EP Burning Bridges was released this year, is carrying alt rock forward without sacrificing its characteristic sound. They compare themselves to the Foo Fighters, Taking Back Sunday, and Thirty Seconds to Mars. Additionally, the vocals are reminiscent of Yellowcard and other bands from recent decades. Listening to Burning Bridges, alt rock fans can compare 1fm to these other bands in many ways. Their work suggests years of exposure to these musical forerunners and much practice at imitating their style. Despite this being only their debut album and it having only five tracks, everything about it suggests a continuation of all that alt rock stands for and is characterized by. Additionally, the fact that 1fm has only released this one album suggests that the best years are still yet to come for them.
Although there is not yet much material for us to examine, 1fm’s initial offering is a strong one, full of promise that they will expand out from their musical influences and really claim a strong voice that is unique to them alone. Just as they imitate those of recent decades, hopefully they will contribute something that can itself be imitated by others. As they continue to release more new music, alt rock fans should keep an eye on them as young new hopefuls in a scene full of history and passion.