Have a listen to: "Stronger" and "Eleventeen"
Idlewar – Dig In
Release Date: 16th June 2015
‘Dig I‘ is the 5 track mini album from Californian power-trio Idlewar consisting of bassist/vocalist James Blake, Guitarist Rick Graham and drummer Pete Pagonis. This is their first release and really gives a good taste of what the band are about; big riffs, powerful bass and groovy drum lines.
Upon first listening to ‘Dig In‘ I found that it seemed to progress from tracks that I considered a little weak, right up to a strong finishing song that became my favourite from the album. Arranging the album in this way may put off listeners with a short attention span but I urge people to return to it and crank it right up, as this is where Idlewar come into their own.
Opening with ‘Chunk Of Me‘ did not fill me with a great sense of hope for the album initially. The intro seemed a little cliché and predictable, then the lyrics and vocals kick in, which felt a little weak in comparison to the throbbing bass and big guitar tone that is the mainstay of this track (and indeed most of the album). It just feels kind of amateurish in comparison to some of their other tracks. Not an ideal start but as I mentioned things do improve greatly.
Middle track ‘Eleventeen‘ assists with the incline in quality of the album. The vocals seem to fit the song so much better and the band sound more in harmony with each other. Despite only being a three-piece band, the guitar and bass form a wall of sound reminiscent of larger bands. They are beginning to live up to bands that they state as their influences such as Clutch, even though I would say they are much closer to a band like Monster Truck stylistically.
Coincidentally, the final track that I consider the strongest part of Idlewar’s introductory album is called ‘Stronger‘. The track starts out with a garage rock style drum beat, moves onto a big (and I mean huge) guitar and bass attack. then seamlessly progresses into a groove-driven chorus that I can already see crowds singing along to in unison. Everything just seems to come together very well in this track and they sound like a band that have been doing this for decades. A really enjoyable song and one that I will doubtlessly return to in future.
‘Dig In‘ is a tricky EP to review objectively as I enjoyed the final track so much that I often forget how flimsy I found the early part of the album. This way of arranging an especially small sample of a bands work is ingenious as it leaves the listener with an overwhelmingly positive idea of the way the band sounds. If the whole of ‘Dig In‘ sounded like the final 3 tracks then I would no doubt be giving these guys a top score, but unfortunately the beginning lets them down so much. Don’t get me wrong, for a first effort this album is great. The sounds quality is great, tone is awesome and the drums sound really clear. If they continue the upward trend in the quality of song writing and performance then their next album (which I hope will be full-length) is going to be an absolute gem. Unfortunately half of ‘Dig In‘ really isn’t doing it for me, and half of a 5 track album is too much to drop the ball on.
For Fans Of: Clutch, Monster Truck