CD Review: "Shit, We're 23"
CD: Shit, We're 23
Artist: The Demon Beat
Trying to cover rockin' local bands for the past few years has put us in the fortunate position to be able to, for better or worse, judge new CDs against band's previous releases.
We can remember getting The Demon Beat's debut, Heavy Nasty, what seems like 10 years ago (2007), being taken aback by our misjudging not only the cover and the title of the CD, but the name of the band itself; we expected something like death metal, having never really heard the band.
Instead we got catchy, powerful, mostly Brit-rock -- much to our delight.
Having in the meantime heard their most recently released EP and the couple of songs they put on the Bud Carroll Caustic Eye split release, with Shit, We're 23> Adam Meisterhans, Tucker Riggleman and Jordan Hudkins continue the shock and awe campaign of throwback-style rock power that the Shepherdstown-based trio has been making waves with, and just now realizing that they weren't 22 anymore, they decide to put down 10 kickass rock songs for posterity's sake.
The "best new band in West Virginia" (as judged by The Boston Phoenix) and the band already (allegedly) banned from coverage by Shepherd University's student paper (haha, their own hometown) returns with Meisterhans' jangly guitars, insane solos, distorted noise jams and soulful, soulful, lovelorn crooning turning into painful shrieking and howling.
Instantly comparing the tones on 23 to Nasty, there's a more distorted, live, high energy feel than what was even on the overall really good debut effort. The band retains the old school rock feel -- they list Hendrix, The Who, and the Stones among their more obvious influences -- they've showed since they came on the scene, way out there in the Eastern Panhandle, and capture an even greater, palpable intensity on their latest (self-produced?) Big Bullet release.
The driving "Got You Movin'" and the funky "Millionaire" open Shit, We're 23 with more of that same vibe, which is why you dug the band in the first place. Meisterhans intones "I'm gonna be a millionaire" psychotically, asserting "I'm a mover," before building into the gutteral, frenetic choruses. With the harder, fuzzier tones, some of the new Demon Beat songs approach grunge, with Angus Young solos.
One pro/con about taking 23 as a whole is the three songs we've already heard. Hearing the amped-up re-recordings of the absolutely killer "This Is No Fun," (think "Search And Destroy") "Memory Ain't Enough" (with the cool Pink Floyd flavor three minutes in) and "Bad Man," are neat benchmarks to compare to the previous versions, but from a tactical, CD-listening-to standpoint, it makes 23 seven previously unheard songs instead of 10.
Speaking of seven songs, the seventh song on the CD, the uber-catchy "Make My Move," is our favorite; it's the one that we'll come back to over and over to listen to again. They need to put that one on their MySpace profile. "Move" and "The Game" approach the prettier, poppier side of the Demon Beat's rock style.
"Can't You" is a slow, echo-soaked dreamy near-power ballad and sews up 23 with the re-recorded "Bad Man" -- not sure where the songs were recorded at, but The Demon Beat capture a hot, live, plug-in-and-go attitude on the solidly produced effort.
For fans of The Demon Beat and those who've heard Heavy Nasty and their other, smaller releases, hearing this new CD will kind of make you glad you've been doing what you've been doing over the past couple of years -- rocking out.
The Demon Beat is a bad band. Bad as in they rock.
The CD, possibly named for some sort of perceived post-college mid-mid-life crisis, or some as-yet unknown perk of being 23 -- is a more than solid addition to the Demon Beat library as the continue to rock as hard as any band around, make fans and continue to earn critical rock and roll acclaim and any other accolades they deserve. There's enough in on the band to judge them as one of the best bands out there, and make you question what could come next for these guys, what 24 will bring, maybe.
But for Adam, Tucker and Jordan, with this CD, they'll always remember (and we'll always be able to hear) where they were when they were 23.
--- The Demon Beat release Shit, We're 23 tonight (11.13) @ 123 Pleasant St., and tomorrow (11.14) @ Shamrock's in Huntington
mp3: "Make My Move" by The Demon Beat
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