IAMDYNAMITE - SUPERMEGAFANTASTIC
Record Label: Brando
Release Date: June 5, 2012
When honing a sound, most bands go one of two ways: offer their take on a pre-existing musical style, or go out on an experimental limb and try something all their own. If it works, it works. If not, they can't be faulted for not putting forth effort. While both of these methods can yield great results, there is a third category of bands, which combines multiple existing sounds into something new. IAMDYNAMITE are that kind of band.
IAMDYNAMITE are a Detroit rock duo comprised of Christopher Martin (guitar, vocals) and Chris Phillips (drums, vocals). Having come up in the Midwest college rock scene, they have endeavored to meld musical styles from throughout the last 50 years into something that feels both fresh and vintage at the same time. On their debut album SUPERMEGAFANTASTIC, they introduce us to their take on the broad genre of rock music.
Upon setting out to break down the sound offered here, two comparisons quickly became apparent. Vocally, melodically, and structurally, SUPERMEGAFANTASTIC often gives off a Weezer feel, while incorporating sonic aspects found in music by Queens Of The Stone Age. The rise and fall of Martin's vocal melodies often seem like the early work of Rivers Cuomo, as in the chorus of "Riot In The Neon Light" and the outro to "Hey Girl"; and in the latter, the guitar shows this influence as well, giving way from quick rhythmic bursts to tempered emotion-laden strumming and finally to an a capella finish. The QOTSA feel manifests in the music's general aggression and buzzing distortion. The sounds seem perfectly crafted for a backdrop of desert hardpan, and the quick, even pace gives it a feel of racing urgency (see "Stereo"). Other artists I was reminded of while listening included such diverse acts as The Eagles, The Clash, and even The Police. (As a side note, when I first saw them, they played a cover of The Bangles' "Walk Like An Egyptian", which somehow managed to fit in with the sound of the rest of their set.)
You might think that with such diverse influences, IAMDYNAMITE's music might feel a bit scattershot; this isn't the case. SUPERMEGAFANASTIC does manage to blend these sounds together in a cohesive and original way. With almost all of the instrumentation coming from one guitar and a drumset, the melodies are vocally driven, as Martin's yelps oscillate between highs and lows. Here vocal distortion and reverb are used tastefully throughout. For most of the album, the feel is quick, upbeat, and with considerable bounce to it. Exceptions to this include the mid-tempo desert rock tracks "Carolina" and "Ms. Jones" and the interlude-outro combination of "Take Me Home" and "Annie", which are respectively steady and calm, then slow and remorseful. The standout track of the album is "Riot In The Neon Light", which features a bridge with raked acoustic chords, thundering drums, and trumpet, giving it a great Ennio Morricone feel.
In their first official release, IAMDYNAMITE has put together a great offering of tracks that harken back to earlier rock and form a style all their own using a pallet of familiar sounds. They clearly have a good time on their journey without dumbing their music down, and the listener is sure to pick up on this.