Forced Sneezes: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 86
Red Devil Ryders - Red Devil Ryders - self-released - 9? songs - cassette
This is the official "debut" of Red Devil Ryders so long as you don't count the limited edition live tape or Carter Luckfield's "Crowley 666," which is kind of like the prequel to the whole thing. The sound of the group is firmly rooted in about 1975 or so, in a sort of obscure middle ground between glam rock and pub rock with added hints of country rock and power pop (at its most rock 'n' roll– think Dave Edmunds, say). There's some Brinsley Schwarz influence, a bit of Neil Young, you probably get the picture. Lyrically, the trend is towards themes of driving, women, "gotta get to the show," or, commonly, all three at once. Though I (perhaps unfairly) think of this as guitarist/vocalist Carter Luckfield's band, bassist Adam Spektor takes lead vocals on two of the A-side tracks, "Alabamarama" (a song that sounds exactly like the title makes you think it sounds– it's a "gotta get to the show" tune) and "Spicy Boys" (in which a variety of spicy foods are listed– it's kind of ridiculous, but it's done in good spirit. Come to think of it, this one could probably fall under "gotta get to the show" as well.). "Down At The Club" and "Buy Me A Drink" are very strong as opening and closing songs, respectively. I was worried that "Red Devil" might be another hot sauce song, but it isn't unless it's going for a really weird metaphor, and "The Ballad Of Texas Pete" is an outlaw story song, because what more can you say than that this band goes all in on their schtick? I have to admit I'm slightly annoyed by the flip side, which is taken up with "666 Pt. 2." I thought it might be a really long freakout jam thing, or like Blues Magoos' "Dante's Inferno" or something, but it's not even really a cohesive piece. It's basically four more songs (the last of which, appropriately closing out the tape, is the fantastic "End Of The World") interspersed with bits of recordings played backwards, sometimes jammed over/along with by the band. I don't know, maybe I just find the forced mystery of it a bit irritating. The complaint I have about the tape as a whole, and I feel bad about saying it because I genuinely like this band, is that a number of the songs are very stylistically similar and I think the fact that four more of them are lumped together on side two just adds to the impression of slight sameiness. However, when it works, it works, and there are definitely some really good songs on here and this is a solid debut. You should be able to tell if you'll like this just by looking at the artwork, which includes a van, a cowboy, and a pepper. I also like that they went for a goofy band photo. 3.5/5
The Sight - Double Take - Quality Time Records - 4 songs - cassette
It's no secret that I'm a sucker for good power pop, and this band certainly delivers. The tape kicks off with "Can't Stop Me," which is a good rocker in a sort of Exploding Hearts vein, with that slight punk edge to it. Certain parts of "Real World" remind me a little bit of Cheap Trick, and the last two, "Hey Outsider" and "Goodbye Years," both remind me a lot of some power pop band that I just cannot put my finger on. Maybe a bit of Badfinger, possibly? I'll remember at some inconvenient time, I'm sure. In any case, all four tracks are pretty great. The band has two very important elements at work in their musical favor: a good guitarist (or actually, two good guitarists) and a really good drummer. And, I mean, besides all that, they've got the songs. I think The Sight is defunct at this point, or at least on indefinite hiatus, but I hope they've got another tape's worth of unreleased tracks somewhere. 4/5
(probably available at qualitytimerecords.bandcamp.com at some point, or try a local record store now)
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