Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Redundant EP Review!!

Here's our 112th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, as we're taking a look at local punk Redundant's self-titled debut EP! We waited to tie this review into Redundant's return to the local stage on Thursday at the Ten Foot Pole concert (preview forthcoming), which could be seen as the EP's de facto local release party. Recorded earlier this year at Mission Control Studios with producer Dustin Jones (after earlier recording sessions dating to 2012 stalled), "Redundant" was independently released on July 17th when the guys played the final Vans Warped Tour stop in Toronto, but an online release didn't occur until August 10th. The band is represented here by their current lineup, including singer/guitarist Justin Langlois, bassist James White, and his brother Rick on drums. You can buy their debut EP for $4.95 on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon, and presumably for a similar price at their concerts, while you can stream it for free on Spotify & Apple Music.

With 5 songs running for about 15 minutes in length, this will be a short review by design, so let's take a look at the first track, "By Myself"! A very traditional skate punk song in structure, this song almost has a folksy-bent to it's laid back vocals, almost like Justin took some Inner City Surfers inspiration here. The driving guitar has a nice hook to it, and James' bass is a strong presence, and while I prefer Redundant's more intense and faster paced performances, this gets the job done for fans of contemporary punk rock, and it's a solid opener! "Miles Apart" brings the quicker aggression with a harder charging vibe that would be perfectly suited to a mosh pit if the crowd was willing! Rick's galloping drums suit this song really well, and the chorus has a nice sing-along quality, but I wish Justin had put a little more bite into the singing, as the contrast in tone is a little too noticeable. For my money, the EP's on an upward trajectory!

Third on the EP is it's shortest track, "Should've Known", which was originally performed by Justin's late 2000s punk band The Scary Uncles. After a gradual opening with members jumping in, this has a Ramones-esque structure and melody, and even a solo of sorts, which is nice to hear! The vocals are perfectly matched to the song's overall theme and melody, and everyone compliments each other well, but the song seemed to end a little too soon, almost like there was a key change that they dropped. Fun song (while it lasts) for fans of Redudnant's casual and laid back side! The last two songs are arguably the most familiar to Redundant fans, starting with "That December", which is arguably the best showcase yet for Justin's melodic vocals, and I like that they complete the "deep inside" lyric throughout the song. This has a nice catchy melody and great bass work from James, but the repetitive chorus might not be to everyone's taste, and there are better showcases for the guitar here. Overall, a solid track though!

"Redundant" closes with "What Will You Do", which is arguably the band's signature song, and which also began life as a Scary Uncles original, under it's old name "Labatt 50". The only song on the EP to exceed 3 minutes in length, this returns to more of a hard-charging punk vibe like on "Miles Apart", albeit with a tinge of country in the riff, if that's fair to say. The familiar recurrence of lyrics here flows better than on the "That December" choruses, and Justin's pseudo-solo breaks things up well, with he and the White brothers showing really good chemistry on this one. This is definitely a CD highlight and is deserving one of Redundant's best known songs!

So, what are my final thoughts on Redundant's long awaited debut EP? Well, if you've been a patient fan of theirs since their 2011 debut, this should be everything you hoped for! Redundant have always shown a great chemistry and enthusiasm in their live show, and that translates intact onto their CD, with Justin Langlois' melodic and often folksy vocals matching well with his familiar punk riffs, James' strong bass playing, and Rick's suitably rhythmic and well timed drum work. The songs here all play to their strengths, and while I personally prefer their more aggressive songs like "What Will You Do" and "Miles Apart", the guys know to keep things varied, and there's a little something for any fan of modern punk rock. There was some minor repetition, and the singing didn't always match the music perfectly, but while it lasts, this is a fun batch of punk rock, and hopefully there's more to come! Buy or stream Redundant's debut EP at the above links!

I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what's coming next month? With our logjam of recent paid album releases (demos aside) almost cleaned out, I'm tentatively planning to review Dafter, Michigan hard rock solo artist SweetKenny's newest album "Management", as released in June, though if he releases a new album this month, we may change course based on whichever is heavier. In any event, look for a new CD review next month, and for more news and updates on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

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