Despite having formed in late 2010, Huckleberry Binge wasted no time playing local shows and fine-tuning their song writing process. Their EP Tornado is a compilation of songs that were written separately throughout 2012, but logically flowed due to consistent themes and lyrical content. As soon as I start listening, I am immediately greeted with the sense of an almost surfer style of rock, circa the 1980s, but with an alternative vibe that definitely captures the self-described garage rock dynamic of the band.
In the opening song “Transistor Tongue” the singer alternates between smoother midrange vocals and an interesting, throat-grating yell that serves as a precursor to the aggressive beat that comes to follow. The layers add a nice sense of depth, and the drummer’s raucous handling of the drum kit is impressive and intriguing. To contrast, the following song “Fur Trapper” gives the guitars a more prominent role, featuring an intriguing collection of sharp/flat notes that add character to the song. The layered vocals and harmonies sound nice here; the singer’s strength is really in the higher, smoother notes.
“Tornado” has a whirling, murky sound that genuinely could describe a tornado, along with the repeated crooning of the title throughout. This song sounds like it was recorded in a tunnel, which further promotes the illusion of a twister. Similarly, if you were caught in the eye of the tornado previously described, “Sleep Through the Storm” would be the song playing in the midst of the calm. The low end is very tasty on this track, and the addition of the harmonica is a great balance to that low end. One can’t help but swing back and forth to this song; it’s a very moving song though the beginning is the slowest on the EP. The end picks up considerably but still keeps the general tone of the song as a whole.
The vocals on the final track “Sin Sweet Sin” are very raw and have an attitude not seen before here, but that adds a very interesting dynamic to the song. This is the most exciting song of them all, as it truly sounds as though the band is having the most fun playing it. There are a few bursts of an irregular time signature and a really fantastic guitar solo featured here. I enjoyed this song the most of all the songs on the EP, as it has an almost indescribable lack of restraint. I would love to see the direction of this song carried on their next work.
As a fan of concept albums, I enjoyed the overall theme and how well the music worked to describe that theme. While I do think that in some areas the vocals weren’t as strong as in others, there were some real sweet spots that, if projected and curated, could really send this band’s sound to the next level. It was a unique listen and in an age of music where songs can easily replicate the sound of others, it was a truly refreshing experience.
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