Asbury Park power-pop combo The Extensions are from left to right bassist Kevin Newcomb, drummer Pete Stern, vocalist-guitarist Brian Erickson and keyboardist-vocalist Lisa LoVell. They will release their debut EP, “Bellicose,” Sept. 20 on North Jersey-based Mint 400 Records with a record release party at Asbury Lanes.PHOTO BY LINDSEY MARIE
Picking up where Brian Erickson’s previous power-pop band, The Paper Jets, left off, The Extensions – also bassist Kevin Newcomb (Fun While You Wait), drummer Pete Stern (Rose Boulevard) and keyboardist-vocalist Lisa LoVell (Dave Mooney & Viewers Like You) – bring their all-star skills to a debut EP, “Bellicose.” With a title that refers to the force with which members embrace their new project, the record will drop Sept. 20 on North Jersey-based Mint 400 Records with a release party at Asbury Lanes. Sharing that bill will be fellow 3143 Artist Management acts The Mercury Brothers, Arlan Feiles & the Brokenhearted, Deirdre Forrest & the Backseams, and Mooney’s aforementioned band. Arlan, Deirdre and Mooney are featured on the comp, but for some reason, The Extensions and The Mercury Brothers aren’t (at least not on the tracks that I received).
One thing’s for sure, “Hallowed Out,” the single from “Bellicose,” would have made the comp even better. The bright opener sets the tone for the six-song power-poppin’ opus as it shares how hard it is to love someone else when you’re too burnt out to love yourself. Featuring a sweet, trippy break in nod to John Lennon at his most psychedelic, “Hallowed Out” is the Makin Waves Song of the Week, which can be heard at 6:45 pm on Friday and Monday on “Radio Jersey,” four more times daily at ThePenguinRocks.com, as well as at Makin Waves’Spotifyand YouTube playlists.
The other standout on “Bellicose” is the closer, “Envy Smile.” The melodic drama about the mess of relationships features the EP’s best vocal performance from the 2018 Makin Waves Vocalist of the Year.
“Bellicose” also contains:
“Running After Me,” a sweet but desperate plea for hope propelled by a boppin’ Ringo beat
“Fake the Rest,” a bittersweet blast of distrust
“Walk It Back,” a Lennonesque romp with all kinds of fun bells and whistles
“Across Your Shoulder,” a clever wordplay about misunderstandings with a nod to The Replacements’ “I’ll Be You.”
Matt Dubrow recorded the band’s production at his Firehouse Studio. The project then segued nicely from The Paper Jets with that band’s co-founding drummer Frank Lettieri Jr mixing and guitarist Mike Virok contributing surreal artwork. Brian once again relies for mastering on Kevin Nix, who mastered the Jets’ “Strange Friends” LP.
By the way, also featured on the 3143 comp will be Nakir Tasi, Biplane, Polyna, and JAHK. After the dual release party, Brian will play the Lanes a second weekend in a row as musical director of a 50th Anniversary tribute to The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” on Sept. 28 featuring a live performance of the beloved LP by the Asbury All Star Abbey Road Band, which includes members of Levy & the Oaks, Des & the Swagmatics and The Foes of Fern, all three of whom will share the bill. Co-produced by Makin Waves and Brian’s Red Pants Productions, the Abbey Road tribute also will feature members of The Vaughns and The Paper Jets.