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The Regrettables EP – Album Review

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With a name like The Regrettables, you better be damn sure of your sound, otherwise the puns are going to start flyin’. And luckily for you (and me) these mofo’s are. The debut EP by Toronto-based grunge outfit is an interesting foray into a sound that refuses to stay dead. Heavily influenced by Incubus and other grunge rock bands of the 90s like Silverchair, the band managed to make a record totally DIY that doesn’t sound like it.

Keeping true to their roots, all the tracks are longer than your average-radio friendly hit, together James Ricci, Jonah Birenbaum, Brendan Tomotsugu and Kris McKenna together are a solid team of songwriters. “Tonight” is the shortest song on the album (clocking in at one second over three and a half minutes) and an excellent introduction to the album. The starter track paints a picture of a band that is restless to get going and a sound that refuses to be tied down. The intro riff is acoustic with some voice samples haunting around it. Ricci’s vocals finally cut into the mix and pleasantly surprise your ears with a sense of strange familiarity, like running into someone you haven’t seen in ages.

The next four songs are dynamic, going from heavy to light effortlessly. “Dead and Gone” begins with a ballad feel from the guitar and vocals backed up with some heavy distortion and strong drumbeats. “So” is my favourite track on the record, the intro drum fill and git-slide get the juices flowing leading into some epic choral compositions. “Suicide Fling” gets dangerously close to being a monotonous rehashing of it’s predecessors but slyly subverts the sound, bringing a more lax vibe to the record. “Way Out” is the final jaunt on the EP, closing the album out with over five minutes of a sound we’ve grown oh so fond of. The highest points are driven home through well-adjusted vocal harmonies and a gritty guitar solo. The track puts The Regrettables’ debut to bed beautifully and is far better at saying goodnight than most bands in the same scene, it truly sounds like the finale of a stadium concert.

I’ve always held the belief that for every 10 shitty grunge bands there is one that reignites the genre in the hearts of listeners and The Regrettables are that one. Though they are heavily grunge infused, a fan can easily pick out glimpses of newer punk tone as well as broad rock and maybe even a hint of folky country, making for a sound that is anything but cookie-cutter. Ricci’s wide vocal range is continually keeping the listener intrigued, hitting some high falsetto notes at times. Birenbaum on drums managed to capture the essence of 90s rock beats, dusting off the cobwebs with some 2000+ style. McKenna’s metallic bass tones are the strong backbone while, Tomotsugu riffed his ass off for this one, the end resulting in some stellar guitar licks that elevate the musicianship of the album. Some professional studio time with a well-versed producer could quite possibly take the band from sounding like they belong in amphitheaters to actually playing there.