Downstait, a young band who have been playing the Fort Wayne area for a few years now, recently released their debut six-song EP, Can You Hear Me Now?, to much anticipation. The band began as Label Kills in 2002 before changing their name to Downstait a few years ago when their lineup was solidified. Downstait now consists of brothers Zack and Justin Call on vocals and guitar, respectively, guitarist Isaiah Zwick, bassist Sean Arata and drummer Jethro McConnell, all of whom were between the ages of 16 and 18 when Can You Hear Me Now? was recorded. Displaying talent beyond their years, these guys have a knack for writing big hooks.
Sahaj Ticotin, frontman for national recording artist Ra, was enlisted to produce the disc, which may have something to do with the fact that Downstait’s songs would fit well in a radio rotation next to Ra, Trapt and other like-minded bands.
As for the songs, opener “One Last Time” shows off Downstait's knack for writing hook-heavy choruses. The song features some great "eff you" lyrics and is one of those songs that is guaranteed to stick in your head.
The harder edged title track and “Nothing Left to Give” are both quite reminiscent of Crossfade, with subtle verses building into big choruses, while “Walk Away” shows a softer side of the band as it delivers an intense ballad about a relationship gone wrong. “Senseless” features a cool guitar riff, and “Blessing in Disguise” tries to teach listeners to be careful what they wish for ... because, well, they just might get it.
Overall, Downstait are a tight band, and Can You Hear Me Now? features a level of production not often found on the local releases, so I would assume the band owes a big “thank you” to Sahaj for helping them sound their best. In case you haven’t picked up on the theme yet, Can You Hear Me Now? is big – big as in big hooks, big choruses and big production. A great first effort from a young band with a bright future.