Just before I sat down to listen to this new trio out of Cedar Falls, IA, my summer day had been heavily inspired by high doses of sunlight, motorcycles racing by enjoying the perfect heat, and thankfully, a dose of a well-known classic rock band that wet my appetite a little for the review. I was checking out Pink Floyd’s “The Division Bell”, which is a newer release as far as purists are concerned, but has some excellent and very ambient guitar and vocal work. Even as a fan who loved things on the heavy side like punk and metal, I was thrilled to hear “Delicate Sound of Thunder” for the first time: the huge reverb sound and very definable mid-range was an instant classic in my book. I cued up “We Bond as Killers” and set in for a listen. The drum sound here is a bit like one of my all-time favorites: Greg Dulli and his band of late-90’s and current alternative awesomeness: The Afghan Whigs.
I hear a lot of Foo Fighters and other big-rock with an undeniably alternative edge here, and these are the types of cuts that are perfect for overhead shots in movies, dark characters doing bad things, and mysterious meetings at night. It’s pretty easy to sense the fact that this band does not necessarily want to conform to the newest of sounds that can be made, and has their roots solidly etched in influences that date back perhaps to bands like Soundgarden, Minneapolis indie gems Soul Asylum, and the Replacements. The second track I listened to was “The Blue Danes”, and it is a much slower, clean guitar driven number.
I admittedly did not like it nearly as much as “We Bond as Killers”, it just wasn’t for me, but that is simply because I love my buckets of distortion and grit so much. The accompanying piano and backing vocals are perfectly appropriate for the mix, and many who profess the ultimate and undying love for the ballad will turn and take notice. Next, I sampled “Yeah I’m Down”, which immediately reminded me of one of my favorite bands of all time: Concrete Blonde. You have to listen very closely, but there are even some southern rock licks in here: they are disguised by the way the clean guitars and percussion sandwich over each other, but there are some nice throwbacks to acts such as the Drive By Truckers, who had the pleasure of touring with Tom Petty himself.
Lastly, I listened to “Honeycomb” which begins with a clean guitar that bounces a bit like Ian Moore, and Stevie Ray himself. Here the group gets to really open up and sing, and although I prefer “We Bond As Killers” because it’s heavy and dark, this could well be the track that the college crowd really warms up to, the chorus has a guitar that creeps back up with some definite distortion, and the catchy factor is high as ever. The Blue Danes will continue to hold it down in the Midwest over the months to come while gradually expanding their reach nationwide, and they are definitely an electric guitar lick loving, inspired-by-greats trio that many club-goers and listeners will learn to love instantly.