The Seattle area is no stranger to the music scene, spawning notable artists like Pearl Jam and Nirvana during the 90s. Since then, dozens of prominent bands, such as Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse, have formed in Washington and, with the advent of sites like Last.fm, MySpace, PureVolume, etc., it’s become easier for bands to be noticed. One such band that’s made a name for itself within the last decade is Christian/pop-rock band This Providence, from Seattle, Washington.
Formed in 2003, while the founding band members were still in high school, This Providence garnered a lot of local attention before they released their first album with Rocketstar Recordings in 2004 entitled “Our Worlds Divorce.” Since then, they signed a record deal with Fueled By Ramen, who has signed bands such as Fall Out Boy and Paramore. This Providence released two albums with the label: “This Providence” (2006) and “Who Are You Now?” (2009).
This Providence’s music is very much of the MySpace generation. They appeal largely to a niche audience, namely young teenage girls who swoon over skinny jeans, v-necks and angst-ridden lyrics coming from the mouth of a front man who is indistinguishable from his peers. With bands like This Providence, their popularity is less dependent on their actual music than it is on the image that they present. For this reason, it’s not hard to understand their appeal. In many ways, bands like these have taken over the position of boy bands, whilst offering arguably more substance. If you’re an attractive young man, I recommend picking up a guitar, because these days that’s all it takes. However, This Providence meets the minimum requirements necessary in terms of technical skill. Power chords, driving drum beats, occasional hooks and adequate, yet whiny, vocals inhabit their overall sound.
Many of their tracks blend together, varying slightly in rhythm, and for this reason their sound is fairly predictable. This Providence has crafted harmless music that is interchangeable with other bands in the same vein and therein lays the problem. The only real difference is the hint of Christianity in some of their lyrics. Depending on your disposition, this may either entice or dissuade you from listening to them. Since 2003, This Providence has gone through two drummers, one guitarist and one bassist, yet their overall sound hasn’t really changed. No matter how many band members come and go, each album will provide more or less the same sound, which is a testament to their lack of creativity.
There’s a reason that bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam made an impression. They brought something new to the table. Unless This Providence expands their sound, adds some substance or finds some way to distinguish themselves from their peers, there’s no reason they won’t blend in and become just another pop/rock band. But then again, that may be all they’re aiming for.
This Providence is currently on tour with Cartel and will be playing at El Corazon on November 10. Their newest album, “Who Are You Now?” was released earlier this year.