Grown Up Avenger Stuff – Eclectica
Charlotte, North Carolina rockers Grown up Avenger Stuff (whatever that name means!) have been riding high on a growing presence thanks to a successful debut album Sparkleton and an extensive live touring schedule that has seen them SXSW, Launch Music Festival and numerous tours across and outside of the US. They have been building a buzz for a reason; they’re a damn good rock band.
The quartet is pretty hard to classify. They can unleash a storm of riffs whenever the feeling strikes them, get sloppy and unhinged like a good punk band with a set of nasty fangs or they can embrace mesmerizing, dreamy soundscapes that enforce brain over brawn. It’s because of this refusal to stick to a blueprint that the five tracks of their latest CD Eclectica entice and engage from the first chord to the last. On tracks like the spitfire punk/psyche riff assault of “Brother,” the dirty, demonized classic rock/punk orgy of “Vision” and the grungy mix of blues grooves, incisive power chords, Sonic Youth noise tidal waves and British trip-outs heard on outro jam “Game” take the audience on a sweat drenched, mind frying heatstroke of rock n’ roll goodness where rough edges take precedence over melody even when singer Deirdre Kroener is at her crooning, gentlest best. Not that Kroener doesn’t incite verbal battle cries whenever John Thomsen turns a riff up to 11, drummer Tyler Thomsen smashes a snare fill into the dirt Mastodon-style on “Game’s” most metallic segment and bassist Hunter Thomsen drills home the low-end with all of his might…but buried within these spires of cacophonic rock n’ roll plunder are melodies worth etching to memory for eternity. The majority of this CD is hot enough to start a raging fire in the middle of Antarctica. Tunes like “Wasting the Light” and “Love Please” are smothered and blanketed in waves of ambience with the guitars gleaming and shining like the work of later Fugazi or even Swervedriver; grimy enough to scare Nickleback fans but catchy and hooky enough to make them accessible to open minded rock n’ roll listeners. Even in these moments where the melodies mine precious deposits of gold, Grown up Avenger Stuff always has the proclivity and inclination to unleash a jabbing thrust of noise and hurried riff-rock that makes their off-the-cuff tactics frequently hard to get a bead on or keep your balance as you teeter on their musical tightrope.
Grown up Avenger Stuff will be a bit too formidable for radio rock fans but those who are combing the internet for a taste of REAL rock n’ roll should check this band out. In a sea of sameness they are original and whenever they let the volume rip you will get more than a few urges to bang your head and shake like you’re in the midst of a distortion exorcism. Hopefully this bright young band will stick around for a while and build an impressive discography to analyze for future music journalists the world over. As it stands right now, they are off to a helluva an impressive start!
9 out of 10 stars.