Div Kid span the rock spectrum

Tinted colors
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  December 1, 2010

beat1_divkid_main
BIG THREE Div Kid.
Div Kid really should have garnered more attention for their self-titled full-length debut in the summer of 2009. It was a pretty good pop rock record. "Sooner or Later" has a high sing-along quotient, with an air of Joe Jackson, and "Boston" was a cool stretching of boundaries, with a fast twang that showed punkabilly influence.

As a whole, though, it felt like frontman Ty Drown tossing out songs he'd written rather than a band with firm identity.

Colors, the band's new EP, released this Saturday at the Empire, is definitely more tightly focused, which is obviously easier when you limit yourself to just five songs. Here, Drown sticks to a general formula of slightly abstract vocals, in the second person, that coalesce into big and poppy choruses. He's emotional, Drown is, and there's quite a bit about crying and dying and lying, but such is the stuff of love songs and rock and roll.

"Love and Suicide," for example, the album's opener, where Drown is "standing in an awkward feeling." Matt Shardlow's bass in this song, and throughout the album, is mixed to the fore, with tons of body (Shaun Michaud did the recording, Steve Drown the mastering). Listen to it in your car and you might just rattle right off the road. At times, it's like a metal song with a regulator on it, four notes in the low end then jumping up to four notes in tearing guitar.

"Tinted" opens with nothing but bass, but then drummer Stefen Samuels (he was on that Clubber Lang album last week, yes) changes things up with a quick high-hat that lends a ska nod. It's almost a radio rocker like those all-ages band do, but Kris Rodgers's guest turn on Hammond organ adds a classic rock vibe.

But more '80s and '90s than '60s and '70s. "Careless Day" gets close to Van Halen's "Panama" in the guitar, but veers melancholy instead of high-energy vamp. "Breathe It Out" is like the Gin Blossoms' "Hey Jealousy" in the verse before pounding the pre-chorus and chorus as deep into your head as possible (I could have used a little less repetition). "Disintegrate" is a direct descendant of "Sooner or Later" from the last album, but this time I hear more Smithereens than Jackson.

None of which is to imply that Div Kid are overly derivative. They're just a fun rock band who get you thinking about your back catalog. That's a good thing.

Sam Pfeifle can be reached at sam_pfeifle@yahoo.com.

COLORS | Released by Div Kid | with Will Gattis | at the Empire, in Portland | Dec 4 | myspace.com/divkidmusic

CORRECTION The print version of this review mistakenly cited "Panama" as having been written by Def Leppard.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Joe Jackson, Gin Blossoms, Kris Rodgers,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY SAM PFEIFLE
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   JASON'S CHEMICAL ROMANCE  |  September 19, 2014
    The mind can wander here. It’s good for lawnmowing or woodstacking or, maybe later in the year, shoveling the driveway. Just like it’s a fit for drinking and carousing with friends and maybe shaking your ass a little bit later in the night.
  •   CRUEL INTENTIONS  |  September 12, 2014
    Portland music scene release dates for the fall.
  •   MIND OVER MIND  |  September 04, 2014
    As a string band, Dark Hollow Bottling Company were an awfully good rock band. Much of that spirit continues in Dark Hollow singer Greg Klein’s new project, GK and the Right of Way.
  •   DISCOVERING SHENNA BELLOWS  |  September 01, 2014
    Long walks and straight talk with the Democractic Senate challenger.
  •   PARTLY SUNNY  |  August 31, 2014
    Mike Clouds' new Apollo's Stamina

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE