California X – California X
Walls of sound. Chunky guitar riffs. Dinosaur Jr. All of these things and more are what instantly strike you when you listen to the strong debut album from this Massachusetts group. Heavy, sprawling guitars serve as the anchor for these 8 songs, tracks that bear more than a passing resemblance to misters Mascis and Barlow. It’s not a knock against the band. After all, if a band can pull off the grunge well, it makes sense to have more bands continuing the legacy of Dinosaur Jr. besides just Yuck.
There is more of a melody to these songs as well, as you get a sense the band is as focused on making fun and inventive rock and roll as say, Japandroids is. If this Dino-inspired garage-grunge-punk sounds compelling to you, you’ll likely be hooked by the wild thrash of nosie that opens the album on the stellar song “Sucker”. It’s the longest song on the album and one of the best, but the shorter bursts of punk are what keeps the album going, especially the guitar solos that punch through “Pond Rot”.
There isn’t much variety on here, but what the band does here it does well. They do well on pop-punk anthems with a noise edge on “Hot Hed”, and really rock out on thrashing tunes such as “Spider X”. It may not be as legendary as Dinosaur Jr’s first album, but California X definitely bring a great deal of energy to these electric songs. It gets even better as the album winds down, from the incredible highs of “Lemmy’s World” and the superb closer “Mummy”, which turns up the noise and the passion. So much of music writing today involves comparing new acts to older ones, and while it’s true that Dinosaur Jr and Superchunk’s presence are felt all throughout this record, California X is an incredibly talented young band with an excellent debut album that should garner them much well-deserved exposure.
- David Sackllah