Thursday, May 13, 2021

Boston Rockers Bring Punk Back to Life - Underdog – Ether Dome Album Review

Underdog are a 4-piece alt- rock band from Boston consisting of Scott Ferguson (Guitar, Bass & Vocals) and Bryn Carlson (Lead Guitar, Drums, Bass & Vocals). After playing in bands from the Boston/Washington DC area such as “The Hackmasters” and the “Fin-de- siècle” they came together to combine their love of alt-rock.  In September 2020 they released their long-awaited debut LP ‘’Ether Dome’’ with Sonic Vibration Records.

Ether Dome consists of 12 upbeat hard-hitting alt- rock tracks with a Punk Rock execution. From the get-go we are met with the fuzzy distorted lead guitar and shouty vocals of “Suzie My Dear”. This track is a heavy rock n roll song that is somewhat reminiscent of pop punk inspired by the 90s. It’s a grand start to the record, and we can see a lot of influences in just this track alone; it’s clear that Scott and Bryn have been playing this style for a long time.

The fourth track, ‘’Underground Rock Band Blues’’ starts with a catchy distorted bassline over a straightforward drum beat that resembles the mid-2000s garage rock of the U.K bands, such as Artic Monkeys and Bloc Party, however it quickly turns into something that wouldn’t feel too out of place on a Black Keys record.

Underdog discuss the apathy for the underground rock bands in today’s music scene “turn off that music its driving me crazy”. They talk about suffering for their art, working a day job that you hate to go out and play the music that you love, which is something every musician can sympathise with.

Tracks such as “Hell Freezes Over” and “Shark Attack” are so undeniably Punk rock that it’s hard to label them as anything else. These tracks are as if they come straight from The Ramones catalogue or possibly from an early Black Flag album - and they do it justice. These tracks are definitely a high note on the record.

The album finishes with “Music Box” which is probably the only track to fall under the 120-bpm mark. They close the record with a slow one, going back to the 90’s vibe with a bit more of a Britpop influence. The picky guitar riffs sound like something Blur or Oasis would’ve messed around with back in the day.

The lead guitar dictates each song rather than the vocals, as the vocals are mixed quite low down as if they aren’t as important as the instrumentation. Regardless, it still works as a punk record, and too much time spent on the mixing and mastering would only distance them further from getting that raw punk sound.

Emergency Sound System labelled it as a “refreshingly messed up sound’’, and that is exactly the point. This record, in my opinion, is a love letter to the raw and upside-down punk rock that came to the scene from the 70s and influenced so many genres and styles in the oncoming decades.

For Fans of: ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Black Flag, The Clash.


By Luke Glazsher


Image: Provided by PR

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