Lord knows good lead singers are hard to come by these days. Local boys Unmarked Cars suffered 30 auditions while trying to find a vocalist with the pipes to front their band, shuffling through a rogues' gallery of less-than-stellar contenders.
"We had a guy on meth and he would say, 'I remember seeing you guys live once, but I was tweaking at the time,'" said guitarist Justin Hogan. "And that was every story he told us, it always ended with 'and I was tweaking at the time.'"
"And he came in eating barbecue potato chips and kept offering them to us throughout the audition," drummer Rich Hayes added.
After running through the remaining applicants with no more luck, Hogan's girlfriend, Courtney Harmon, tried out. Although Harmon hadn't stepped behind a microphone since high school, she impressed the band members, and two years later, the Oklahoma City group is releasing its first full-length album, "A Guide to the Common Era."
Unmarked Cars began as an instrumental trio, so the album is filled with skilled songs reigned into tightly crafted rock tracks. Hogan spent time honing his skills in California, and the West Coast rock structure is evident with shrewd, aggressive, hook-driven songs designed for Harmon's pop-punk delivery and energetic stage presence, reminiscent of Gwen Stefani before she was sold to the Japanese.
Basically, "A Guide to the Common Era" is an album built for the "Rock Band" gaming generation of music fans. When the songs are coupled with a bristling live show, Unmarked Cars are a worthy contender to be the next metro band to break into larger markets. "Charles Martin