7 tracks / 28:28
The members of Pennsylvania’s Time Gap have something special going on. Their debut EP, Flashback, is seven tracks of original blues music that are infused with bits of jazz to provide a cool twist. The other cool twist is that after hearing their work, it is hard to believe that all four of the band’s members are still in high school. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed, as they recently represented the City of Brotherly Love in the Youth Showcase at the International Blues Challenge, so they are definitely on the blues scene radar now!
Time Gap is led by guitarist Radka Kasparcova, along with vocalist Sophie Griffiths, Miles Burger on bass, and Noah Bryant behind the drum kit. These folks are influenced by The Allman Brothers, BB King, and Buddy Guy, and often perform songs from these artists at their shows, but this disc is all about their original music. As there are only seven songs on this half hour album, following is a rundown for each of them.
The first song in their set is “So Many People,” an up-tempo blues song with jazz inspired vocals and guitar. Griffiths has a sweet alto voice with good inflection as she obsesses over a man and sees his face everywhere she goes. Burger has a great tone and thump to his double bass, and holds down a solid beat with Bryant. The mood changes with the next tune, “Rain on My Parade,” which is a frenzied boogie with Kasparcova taking a strong lead on her guitar. This song would be a great calling card for any of the members as they each get a chance to show off their talents.
Then, with “New and True,” the band gets to take a bit of a breather with a jazzy ballad that tells the story of a woman who has to know where she stands. For this mellow tune, Griffiths maintains an edge to her voice, which provides contrast that keeps the mood from getting overly sweet – this is the blues, you know. Radka does extended work with her heavily processed guitar tone, and (as with the rest of the disc) she plays with wonderful touch. She also provides layers of acoustic and Hawaiian guitar for “Two Way Street,” which is a really cool combination. This song has a neat change of pace midway through, which is something this band is not afraid to try on a few of the tracks.
“Did you break my heart or did you spare me?” is the question that is asked in “Thursday,” a slick funk track that is very catchy and listenable. This song features a tastefully restrained guitar solo plus a few righteous bass and drum breaks from Burger and Bryant that bring it together well. There is also 12-bar blues to be found, and “As Time Rolls On” changes up this proven formula with a Latin beat and an extended instrumental interlude halfway through. Then, before you know it, the set wraps up with another ballad, “Simple.” Griffiths cements her role as a chanteuse as she pines for that which she has not and the group uses drastic dynamic and mood changes with this song to effectively create drama and to bring the story home.
Time Gap’s Flashback EP is a solid debut of all original material, and it is impressive that this quartet did not stuff any superfluous covers into the mix. Groups like this are the future of blues music and will act as a bridge to entice younger listeners into the genre. Hopefully they are working on more material for a follow-up, and in the meantime check out their Facebook page to check out their schedule of gigs around the Philadelphia area.