November 29, 2001

Test Spins: Earl's Garage

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Among the many oft-overlooked Ithaca bands working at metal-inflected punk rock, Earl’s Garage is another strong contender. This energetic release marks a worthy addition to the Cipher Records discography with 14 tracks of pedal-to-the-metal punk.

The band’s sound will be familiar to Cipher fans — a raw, edgy stew of punk rhythms and vocals with plenty of heavy metal chops mixed into the broth. But though the band’s sound at times treads close to the formulaic, they avoid sounding boring or conventional by coming on strong with an endearing sincerity and energy. Singer Disashi is most reminiscent of MxPx’s Mike Herrera, and his delivery of the earnest lyrics is direct and almost confrontational.

“Don’t Give In” is a highlight, alternating between scorching metal breakdowns and lighter verses. Throughout the album, the band’s tight instrumentation keeps things constantly engaging, forging a groove in a way seldom heard in punk. The tinny-sounding drums, grinding guitars, and thick bass merge for a great sound that stays fresh through multiple listens.

Archived article by Ed Howard