Monday, February 28, 2005

Review: The Underground Rebels - The EP (2004)

The Underground Rebels [ MySpace ]
The EP
(2004)
self-released

While The EP is the first release from Las Vegas-based rockers The Underground Rebels, they are in fact a mature outfit with a couple of previous releases under their belts. Based in Vancouver, Canada, and known as The Loving Dead  (a horror-themed rock group), founding member Kurt Frohlich and Co. put out a couple of albums and won significant recognition in the Canadian rock scene. A move to Nevada and a name change results in the latest incarnation of the band, whose stripped down rock sound compares well with bands like Goo Goo Dolls and Semisonic.

Don't let my comparisons steer you away from The Underground Rebels, because they bring much more to the table. Where their overall sound is similar, there's a certain raw quality to their music (particularly with the guitar sound and vocals) that evokes memories of classic rock acts like Alice Cooper, pre-1990s Aerosmith, and L.A. Guns. For example, the guitar intro and riffs of "Why Ask Why" (my favorite track on The EP) are nostalgic, yet fresh, giving the song a bit of a garage rock feel while paying homage to that great rock 'n' roll sound of yesteryear. Frohlich, who is both singer and guitarist on this album, has portrayed Ace Frehley in a very successful KISS tribute band, the influence of which is not lost on his skills with the six-string. "Another Star" is the most contemporary sounding track on the disc, paced just above becoming a ballad and sporting a few atmospheric keyboard passages to go along with the riffs and noticeable bass lines. That raw guitar gets back up to speed on "Down Anymore" while Devlin Harkell's bass clearly thumps the time, which in fact steals the show a bit during a mid-song interlude.

Admittedly it took me a couple of listens to get what The Underground Rebels were all about. Once I scratched the surface and picked out their influences, letting Kurt's leads and hooks soak in and feeling Devlin's dancing bass, the uniqueness of this band became evident. The key to their style is embracing a classic rock sound, with a bit of punk attitude, while throwing in enough updated elements to give the modern rock scene something to stand up and take notice of. Since the release of The EP, guitarist Sean Koos (ex-Joan Jett) and drummer Todd Waetzig (ex-Blue Man Group - yes, that Blue Man Group) have joined the ranks of The Underground Rebels. I honestly can't wait to hear what these guys put out next.


Track Listing
1 History 3:37
2 Why Ask Why 3:29
3 Another Star 3:19
4 Down Anymore 2:52
5 Rewind 4:14



Purchase The EP from these fine e-Tailers:

  

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