Guerilla Records
Release date: October 08, 2001

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Whenever you get an EP, there is only one thing you should have on your mind when listening to it — do they deserve to release a full LP? The Ivory Tower Project, a New York based band/project, brings that question to you with their 4-song EP called Red Hot.

From their bio, the two main songwriters for this group are Mark Regula (vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar) and Johnny Jace. But, on this EP, they have Richie Cannata (formerly with Billy Joel); Ivan Elias (Patty Smyth, Scandal); and a few others. They only have three full-time band members, so the previously mentioned named are why it’s called a “project.”

The first song, “My Name,” has a Billy Squire feel to it, and not the good Billy Squire. The chorus has Regula striving for a note he probably shouldn’t hit, even though he can, and the music is boring. The drums aren’t too bad on this song, though. The song picks up after the guitar solo, and it’s not too bad. The chorus, and the end note, a high falsetto whisper, needs some work.

But then, “Burning,” starts. This has a funky vibe to it, a great bass line, and very strong vocals. Regula’s voice fits perfectly here, and the song is very catchy. Here, they write a great chorus. Obviously, The Ivory Tower Project is heavily influenced by classic rock. This song could jump into the late ‘70s or early ‘80s and hold its own. Good stuff.

“Gotcha,” is a very ‘80s pop song, with elementary keyboards (ala Flock of Seagulls) and some strange drum fills. They screw around with the vocals here, and all in all, it’s sort of a confusing song. But, it does stick in your mind after hearing it once, whether you want it to or not.

When the last song, “Way Too Late,” starts, you’d almost swear they had guest vocals by Eddie Money. This song chugs, and the production actually sounds better than the other songs. You can tell Regula is into this one more than the three other songs, but maybe it’s because “Way Too Late,” is something he wrote on his own. The musicianship is strongest on this song as well. It rocks.

If you are keeping track, that makes The Ivory Tower Project 2 out of 4. Does this do enough to make them deserved of a full LP? Probably. When was the last time you listened to a whole CD and liked 5 of the 10 or 6 of the 12 tracks? Red Hot isn’t the best thing you’ve ever heard, but there are a ton of bands out there releasing worse music. If they veer a little more towards “rock” than “classic,” it seems they have something to say.

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