CHASE CUNNINGHAM – Features Writer
Energetic pop rock and soaring contemporary church music meet outside the sanctuary on Cardinal’s debut EP.
Founding band members Ethan Asters (lead vocals, rhythm guitar and keys) and Brent Beachtel (lead guitar and backup vocals) met at Samford two years ago. They began playing together with songs Asters, a 2013 Samford graduate, had already written.
Drummer and church musician Kyle Carpenter, the only member never to have studied at Samford, joined the pair within a year. Senior music education major Russell Blackburn is currently playing bass guitar with the permanent Cardinal members.
Beachtel jokingly said that the band sings about “girls in Ethan’s past,” and is inspired by Britpop. The members’ contemporary worship background is evident in their ambient and melodic sound. Colorful streaks reminiscent of Coldplay, the Killers and U2 are also present.
“I write a little bit darker music than Ethan does,” Beachtel said. “It forces him to get outside of the box a bit and write something he isn’t used to.”
The band’s self-titled EP was recorded at the Bates Brothers Recording Studio last May. Cardinal only had seven days to cut its tracks, but saw the small window as an opportunity.
“We didn’t have a lot of time to experiment,” said Beachtel, “which was cool, because it forced us to know what we were going to play before going into the studio.” Joel Davis, professor of musical composition in the School of the Arts, produced the record.
The EP was released Oct. 18 with a concert and party at the United Christian Fellowship house on Mountain Brook Community Church’s campus.
Many recent local shows have helped build momentum for the band, although the members still feel there is a long way to go.
“I think a lot of people here [in Birmingham] don’t really pay attention to local bands, when there is a lot of talent,” Beachtel said.
In the future, Cardinal hopes to record a full-length album. Their immediate goals, though, are to play more local shows and write more songs.
Connect with Cardinal at facebook.com/officialcardinalband. Their EP is available on iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon.