Inner Ally | E.P. One - EP

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United States - Wisconsin

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Rock: Hard Rock Spiritual: Christian Rock Moods: Type: Vocal
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E.P. One - EP

by Inner Ally

Genre: Rock: Hard Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Stand by You
3:38 $0.99
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2. The Key
5:31 $0.99
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3. Kathy's Song '17
3:25 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

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Michael Kellerman

Empyrean!
An eclectic mix of rock, spiritual and power ballads. Well worth the modest price.

Inner Ally's first commercial offering opens with an energizing guitar riff reminiscent of 70's classic rock in "Stand By You." Here we are introduced to the rich vocals of front man and lead guitarist Frank Patek. The cheerful and uptempo selection is driven by the punchy percussion performed by drummer Steve Nelson.. The layered vocal arrangements of Kathy Patek and Lori Stelloh round out the vocals harmoniously. The lyrics assume the point of view of a man comforting another person with a message of hope, a recurring theme found in many of Inner Ally's works. Overall, this song has the potential to be a chartable single with a positive message.

The next track "The Key" wades into deeper spiritual waters. The lyrics unabashedly proclaim the group's spiritual focus while remaining inclusive to all. The emotional heft of this poignant power ballad is carried by sparkling keyboardist Jane Berry-Fraundorf and booming bass guitarist Rob Anderson, and enhanced by the baritone crooning of lead vocalist Frank Patek. The song is rounded out by the powerful alto vocal expressions of Katheryn Granier. Normally I expect songs written in a minor key to be brooding and sad, but this track offers an inspiring message of hope.

The final selection "Kathy's Song" tells the actual story of how a chance encounter on a rainy day brought band founder Patek together with his now lifelong love Kathy, who incidentally, sings backup vocals on this track. Probably the most requested of all of Inner Ally's songs, this moderate tempo ballad stands out for it's sincerity as well as the polished instrumental performances of Nelson, Berry-Fraundorf, and Anderson. This is Inner Ally at it's best: Honest, moving and melodic.

Having seen this gem of a band live in Wisconsin, I look forward to hearing them record more of their catalog of pop, rock and spiritual selections. The remixing and remastering is top notch and professional, which make it great to listen to with earbuds or headphones. This is a very entertaining and promising home grown band!
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Tim Pierce

A Promising Start
The first commercial offering of Milwaukee favorite Inner Ally is a prodigious effort and well worth the modest price. The EP opens with an electrifying guitar riff after which we are introduced to the rich vocals of baritone rock crooner and front man Frank Patek on "Stand By You." This uptempo track is reminiscent of 70's classic rock while it gives us a small insight into the general theme of hope that we will hear in future allied tracks. The song is driven by punchy percusionist Steve Nelson, and rounded out by sweet vocal layering of Lori Stelloh and Kathy Patek. Overall, it's a catchy rock tune, but we don't yet see the full potential of this Akedemia Award winning band. That all changes on the next track.

In the EP's second track, "The Key," the plucky septet brings the spiritual depth and mood that Inner Ally is known for at it's performances. Reminiscent of Springsten's 2005 power ballad "Jesus was an Only Son" this track describes the awe which Patek feels about the story of the passion of Christ. When a new band wades into spiritual waters like these, it runs the risk of alienating fans who don't share their convictions. Inner Ally manages to thread this needle nicely though, remaining inclusive and giving the listener a song they can enjoy regardless of their spiritual leanings. The emotional heft of this piece is carried by the sparkling keyboarding of Jane Berry-Fraundorf and the booming bass guitar of Rob Anderson. Patek provides lead vocals in the begining of the song. Towards the end, we get to hear the passionate and powerful vocal expressions of Katherine Granier for the first time. Normally, when a song is written in a minor key like "The Key," it comes off as sad or brooding, but Inner Ally manages to avoid this completely and still pack the emotional intensity for which they are striving. The song is a foreshadowing of Inner Ally's potential as a band, clearly displaying the talents of every member of the group.

We end our listening tour of Inner Ally with the EP's third track, "Kathy's Song," a sincere and delightful pop rock ballad that tells the true story of how band founder Patek met his lifelong love Kathy (who, incidentally, performs backup vocals in this song as well). I've always enjoyed songs that anecdotally recant a story from beginning to end (in the way that 10,000 Maniacs and Natalie Merchant did in the 80's and 90's) as this song attempts to do. The vocals by both Pateks (as well as those by Stelloh) are pleasant, and Nelson, Anderson and Berry-Fraundorf's instrumentals are well done. This song gets the band a lot of requests because of it's melodic tale that could be lifted from a Hollywood love story.

The EP is well-mastered and mixed and sounds great with earbuds or headphones. It's a fitting introduction to a promising home-grown rock crossover band, with great writing and musical arragements. The only criticism I have is the title: EP 1. You guys can do better than that! Maybe Inner Ally is saving the clever titles for their long-awaited first full album (hint, hint). In any case, the EP is enjoyable, entertaining and clearly displays the group's talent and potential. I look forward to their next EP.
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