In 2005, the members of screamo-punk band One For Hope were left in a precarious position.
Their lead singer had decided to leave the band just after helping the group complete their second EP, Related to Roses. “We were sitting on 100 copies of our new CD with a singer that was no longer in the band,” guitarist Justin De La Rosa recalls. “But we moved on and decided we had to start everything over and, luckily, Joe (Cave) was a great fit.”
Cave’s vocals have the kind of range that allows a soundscapish band like One For Hope to thrive. In their song “A Beautiful Day to Exit” (which has received significant airplay on 104.7 The Edge), Cave shows that his voice can coo as easily as it can grate. The transition between the two can occur in an instant.
The radio play and support from local DJs don’t reveal the layers of experimentation that One For Hope’s song writing process entails. “We’re not sitting there writing ‘verse, chorus, verse, chorus,’” De La Rosa explains. “We just play what we think feels right and there really aren’t any boundaries as far as where we think a song should go.” Although the voyage from one song part to the next may be uncertain, the journey isn’t a bumpy one, often aided in the transition by Cave’s keyboard melodies.
Although it’s not quite mainstream, One for Hope has carved out a substantial niche in the local scene. They plan to take their sound on the road for a multi-state romp through the Southwest in the summer of this year. Until then, the band will continue to play plenty of shows in New Mexico, including an all-ages, multi-band event at The Cell this Saturday.
Rounding out the bill at The Cell are young up-and-comers Labels and Numbers. The band has created an assemblage of tracks that are very loose in their structure and seem to fervently push the creative envelope at every turn. At the root of this unpredictability is the band’s commitment to “free-prov,” a technique used by bands like The Mars Volta that insures every night’s live show is substantially different from the last.
“We aren’t really going for the jazz sound, but the way we put our songs together is a lot like the way the jazz legends did ... everybody really feeds and builds off one another,” says lead singer, keyboardist and guitarist Isaac Padilla. “The crowd doesn’t really know what our songs are going to sound like and we don’t exactly either.”
Labels and Numbers could best be described as very experimental in their forays into electronic, often piano-based ambient rock-pop. Every song presents a challenge for the band, but perhaps nothing has been more difficult for the three-piece than finding a reliable producer. “It just keeps happening ... we think we’ve found somebody to record us and help us out and then, sometimes even after we’ve recorded stuff, they just don’t answer our calls anymore,” Padilla says.