Chris Basso (lead vocals), Dan Ravenda (bass/vocals), Mike Digiulo (guitar/vocals) and Matt Dominno (drums) are Green Knuckle Material. The band mixes lo-fi sounding rock with rap on their album Back To Your Roots. It’s an unusual combo and veers towards Sublime style rapping.
The band has some successes and some areas that can be improved upon. Some of the raps feel contrived as if Basso is trying a little bit too hard to gain energy that just isn't coming the production elements. On the other hand the best moments often veer towards catchy melodic choruses. One example of the band's best moments is on the opener “Childhood.” The chorus sounds great. The vocal melodies are strong and catchy. Some of the issues with the rap sections are the energy and mix of the music. The guitars are too low in the mix with the vocals not comfortably sitting in the sounds. The vocals sometimes lay on top of the mix.
“Go That Way” is another song with some inspired melodic moments and disconnected sounding raps. This is really the case for the rest of the album. Some raps are stronger than others and some melodies work better than others.
One of my favorite songs was “Wish You Well.” It is one of the more original songs and had a solid bass line. The song just feels so random compared to the songs with the rap as if it's a different band.
Green Knuckle Material has some potential but still needs to do some work if they want to compete with some of the more notable acts out there. They are going to have to improve the recording quality at some point. Lo-fi works in some instances but usually not with rap and certainly not with the style presented. There often wasn't enough energy in the music to support the rhymes. The lo-fi sound did work better with some of the more melodic material but still needed a good amount of work in the mix. Even more importantly they need to figure out how to combine these disparate styles a little better. Sometimes it worked better than others. I'm rooting for these guys and think they are on to something but a couple of tweaks could really take it to the next level.
Green Knuckle Material is not the first or last group to combine rap and rock. With some more work in the studio and time they should be well on their way.
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