With their third studio album, Rip This, garage rock band Bass Drum of Death utilize the tried and true methods of the genre, with some unique twists, to create a lively collection of songs.
Coming off of their eponymous second album, the band decides to move towards a new style, characterized by heavier guitar with more distortion. They use it consistently well, and it becomes the unifying element of the album. Consequently, the one semi-acoustic track, “Better Days”, falls flat, as it just doesn’t seem to fit in with this change in style.
Roughly half of the album consists of songs that air toward the grunge side of garage rock. These tracks have the distinct feel of an upbeat Nirvana tune; the riff in “For Blood” could have easily been on Nevermind. Some of the better grunge songs of the album – “Electric” and “Route 69 (Yeah)” – don’t go beyond the standard fare for the genre but are definitely worth a listen.
The band really comes into its own in the other half of the album, which has more of a garage-punk style. Some grunge elements leak their way into these songs, creating a sound more unique to the band. “Left for Dead” deftly switches from fast-paced punk verses to a crunchier grunge chorus, leaving the listener excitedly unsure of what to expect.
“Everything’s the Same” is easily the star of the album, energetic and dance-inducing throughout, with an awesome post-chorus riff that brings both the song and the album to a rock-n-roll peak.
Front man John Barrett’s voice meshes well with the band’s style, most notably on “Black Don’t Glow”. Lyrically, the album is nothing special, but the catchy music more than makes up for it, especially in this genre.
Ultimately, Rip This holds itself back by spending too much time replicating the grunge style of past artists. However, the more original and fun punk tracks shine through the unimaginative ones, showing that Bass Drum of Death knows how to rock.
Voice’s Choices: “Everything’s the Same”, “Black Don’t Glow”
Photo: Innovative Leisure