It’s not often that we’re blown away by a debut single, but the debut from South London based Videotapes is really rather special.
Howl (for jane doe) is a heavy alt rock, bordering on punk, style song that laments the struggles of female victims of violent crime. This song pays tribute and gives a voice to those suffering. Based on Hallie Rubenhold’s book “The Five”, this 3 minute burst of raw emotion is a fitting voice.
The song starts with the top and bottom EQs filtered out, which means that when the full spectrum is unleashed, there’s a power and energy that is undeniable.
Howl (for Jane Doe) has lots of fantastic different sections to it, allowing the listener to be totally immersed in the emotions. There’s always something new happening to maintain the listener’s interest.
Some awesome and well judged side to side panning of the guitars makes for an interesting moment, forcing the listener to pay further attention. This is a super original song with a great break down and build with guitars, drums and then bass to add tension before exploding back into the main part of the song.
And now to the vocals… It is rare to hear a female vocalist with such a quality belting technique. The scream that she produces at the end (we are told this was a first take!) is absolutely chilling. It is performed with perfect guttural technique and the emotion in the performance is inescapable.
Because of the high quality of the vocalist’s technique, and the raw emotion and important message behind it, we felt that the vocals could do with being compressed a little more and brought further forward in the mix. Perhaps some additional effects; more reverbs and delays would add even more character to a stunning performance.
Production wise, this truly is excellent. We have some tiny (if at all) suggestions that we’d make to our ears; A little boost around 55Hz will give the kick drum more of a thump in the chest feel, a tiny cut around 1-1.5kHz will balance a very slight honkiness in the overall track and a boost of the top 2 octaves will add some more brightness. Very tiny adjustments that we feel will enhance the track, but even without them, this is a stand alone track which absolutely blew us away.
Videotapes are really onto something with their debut single, Howl (for Jane Doe). This well performed, well written and well mixed track ticks all the boxes for us and is one of the best debut singles we’ve heard in a long time. We can’t wait to hear more.