Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

March 23, 2011

Evan Russell Saffer ~ Neon Gas

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Style: glam rock, hard rock, progressive
Year: 2010
Home: New York City

Members: Evan Russell Saffer ~ vocals
Wilson Lihn ~ guitars/b. vocals
Cody Darbe ~ bass
Rob Blake ~ drums

Additional: Urban Olsson ~ guitar
Rick Warren ~ piano/b. vocals
David J. Holman ~ synthesizer
D. James Goodwin ~ voice
Evan Parness ~ percussion/b. vocals
Boris Corchesco ~ strings
Kyle Wooden, Leslie DiNicola ~ b. vocals

Having seen the New York glam band Fixer live & been impressed enough to buy their debut CD the next day ... I'm a bit embarressed to say that frontman ERS's debut Neon Gas is a more appealing listen. But, I should be honest by saying that his charasmatic stage presence is largely what kept my eyes riveted to the stage ... while all the girls in the audience were riveted to him for ... different reasons. Not to put down the talent & music of his band but ERS has presented with Neon Gas more what I was hoping to find with Fixer. Perhaps its the fact that Fixer falls firmly in the glam camp while ERS has presented a mix of different styles with lots of hooks, vocal dynamics, interesting, ever-changing & unique arrangements crafting something far more progressive & intricate. Actually, the difference is comparable to H.I.M. versus Mick Ronson of the Spiders From Mars. Actually early Alice Cooper Band might be better than H.I.M. where one would find on their albums everything from trashy sleaze rock to juju rhythms while Alice pulled out a hundred different characters, finding a popular climax in "Billion Dollar Babies". ERS takes the same approach with Neon Gas. He retains the adrenaline glam rush of Fixer but puts it through a crawl of a songwriter's psyche with all the ups & downs that would normally be found on a psychiatrist's couch. ERS has had schizophrenia tossed his way to label his music, which, as I have greatly struggled to find ways to describe the cornucopia he's created, I must embarressingly agree with. Though, it's not a schizophrenia that makes your head spin but more akin to multiple personalities marching like soldiers on parade. The best example is the first track "Chemical Marketplace" which opens with a fast build-up of layers from a drums alternating bars while dueting with a simple two note guitar riff to a touch of distortion to a chorused scream leading into a juggernaunt that sets the stage for the rest of the album as the listener never knows what to expect next with ERS while the energy never lets up. Further, ERS uses the full range of his voice from talking to screaming & while he might rely on the verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus standard format subtle changes in singing never let the songs get boring or predictable. Its a rare case where the vocals match the energy of the music ... yet there's enough repetition so its not too ... schizophrenic. One repetition that does come through and repeated on numerous songs sadly, is a reliance on higher pitched screams for the chorus. ERS describes his music as "schizo/rock opera/hobo-chic", with the rock opera being a particularly underlooked aspect to the music both in terms of style, feeling & the loose theme of ERS's psyche. The fact that plans are in the works to release his journal - non-musical journal that is - recounting the making of the album shows the hidden rock opera behind the glam.


  1. cool review. thanks Aaron.

  2. Great review. Watch out for ERS in 2011! With Neon Gas Evan's gone way beyond his years. A classic. Bill/Synnershots