Thursday, April 15, 2010

Final Club - Hot Gaze EP

Over the past couple months, Final Club have been playing a steady stream of shows throughout the Denton circuit, and the combination of some smart booking choices, a few intriguing instrumentals posted on Myspace and a little boosting from some local blogs has put the band on the tips of local show hopper's tongues. For those too lazy or physically unable to make it out to one of their performances, you now have the opportunity to hear an accurate representation of their live show from the comfort of your own home-- recorded over three weeks in the band's home and part time DIY venue The Lion's Den, Final Club have offered up their first EP Hot Gaze as a free download to the public. So is this hype train pulling out of the station too early, or should you pack your bags and catch the next arrival ? I'm gonna go with the latter. Final Club's debut may not be the most original recording I've heard recently, but it is definitely one of more enjoyable.

The four piece owe a debt to all things "indie guitar rock" from the 1990's on, and the band's drugged out guitar sheen notably recalls fellow Texans The Butthole Surfers and their abrasive and irony drenched take on abstract, modern day acid rock. Final Club play it much safer most of the time, however, which leads to a much more pop oriented product infused with the aforementioned fuzzed out sloppy crawl of a band that spent most of its heyday being anything but pop. Despite the obvious differences, however, the influence is still there in the sense that both groups share a uniquely Texas sense of psychedelia that seems to be a bit unidentifiable-- I think it has something to do with the sunsets, or it might be that the sheen echos off the reverb in the recordings the same way that Texas breeze caress your cheek after a hard night of partying.

Unfortunately, the songs do lack personality in some spots. All of the six tracks achieve what they set out to do, but there is never anything too surprising or unique-- no, it's not a boring listen deprived of personality, but I would like to hear the individual members loosen up a little bit. This is of course taking into consideration the as of now short lifespan of the band, but the good news is that as more shows and jam sessions occur, we may begin to encounter more personality and stylistic signatures for the band to call their own.

One strength the group has going for them is in vocalist Brendon Avalos, who exudes the foggy eyed innocence of Daniel Johnston mixed with the nasally acid punk sounds of Rodney Anonymous. It would have been easy to hide the vocals behind the wall of guitars, but I appreciate the decision to make it an active participant in the bands sound.

The six songs here don't necessarily show a lot of range, but the quality of the short set shows a promise of things to come. Closing track "Wizard Wells" does take some unexpected turns here and there which adds some spice and serves as a model the band would be well advised to follow in the future. I recommend you download and give it a listen before you dismiss it as a throw away recording that Final Club couldn't charge you for. After a couple of listens, you can tell that this is a release by a band who enjoy making music and just want you to hear it.

(3 out of 5)


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