The Danbees have slowly but surely been winning over the hearts of indie rock fans and critics alike since they released their rookie LP Fishnets Anonymous a little over two years ago, and now that they’ve attained a moderate level of exposure they want to demonstrate to listeners just exactly what they’re capable of doing. The Veggie Tapes, their all-new six song extended play, is a credible sampling of what the band has been working on in the months that have followedFishnets Anonymous, and it’s much more sophisticated than what I expected to hear. Teeming with richly intricate guitar solos and studious drumming that gets over the top without warning, The Veggie Tapes is quite a sumptuous EP to digest to say the least.
Let’s start off with the record’s first single, “Down at the Bar.” “Down at the Bar” lives up to its title in capturing the energy of a raucous watering hole that should have closed hours ago. The guitar crashes into the pensive drumming like a staggering drunk looking for a fight. The bass is strutting around looking for a last call pickup. And the vocals, well, they’re just trying to survive all of the mayhem. Easy listening it isn’t, but rip roaring hard rock it most definitely is.
“Can’t Sleep” is the more relaxed of the two singles offered from The Veggie Tapes, but it still isn’t a velvet soft ballad by any stretch of your imagination. Bolstered by an even keeled introductory lick that is startlingly reminiscent of Minnesota alternative rockers The Replacements, “Can’t Sleep” is the cathartic yin to “Down at the Bar’s” volatile yang. The two present the duality of The Danbees to us in perfect packaging, and their inclusion together on this EP makes The Veggie Tapes a more than worthwhile listen if you’re trying to get to know the band better.
Bassist Sam Enright shines bright in his role as a player on this record, but there’s something to be said about his excellent mix of the EP as well. “Going Down” is crystal clear and lets us sink our teeth into every little facet of the giant riffing raining down on us, while “Let’s Get It Right” and “Fell Off” seem intentionally cloudy and treble-laden, almost to create a sense of dissonance that reminds me a little of 1970s proto punk experimentalism. It’s a major step up from Fishnets Anonymous and another reason why I think The Danbees are getting the attention that they are these days.
The Veggie Tapes might have been recorded in a studio in Montclair, New Jersey, but the emotion and provocative grooves it contains will plow through your stereo and make themselves comfortable wherever you choose to consume them. The Danbees are on a very exciting trajectory right now, and those of us in the music industry that might have doubted their skillset in the past are mostly silenced by the weight of their latest collection of songs. They’re not done becoming what I believe them to ultimately be beneath the crunch of their chords, but The Veggie Tapes sees them making great progress.