Before you start reading the rest of this review of Bitter by Of the Pack I would recommend you start by just playing it in our Bandcamp player below. It shouldn’t take long for you to fall in love with this band’s music. After listening to the first two minutes of “Sea the Shore” I knew I was listening to something special as they offer everything an outstanding indie rock band should. They rock out like Bloc Party used to and have inventive, ridiculous catchy hooks that you haven't heard since Emergency & I by The Dismemberment Plan.
I was more than shocked to see that the band is a three-piece consisting of brothers Richard (guitar, lead vocals) and Eric Dutka (drums, backing vocals) and fellow bandmate, Nick Friars (bass guitar). They have a large sound due in part to the stellar production but also to the structure of the songs themselves.
Let’s go back to the first song “Sea the Shore” for a second. The verse is good but the breakdown may be the catchiest thing I have heard all year when they sing “But here we go again once more / Let's dive down to the ocean floor / This is where I've come to die / And peacefully I close my eyes.” Lets not forget the short, sweet, clean guitar solo that doesn't overstay its welcome. After the song I was wondering if they were going to keep on delivering and they don't disappoint. The second song “Shallow Grave” might be better than the first. They utilize a polka style walking bass line to create a solid foundation for the reverb laced vocal harmonies and guitars. The song gains more energy as it progresses with another great lead guitar part.
“Life Ain't Fair” meditates on the existential dilemma that is pervasive amongst 20-year old some things in the states while “Sleeping Pills” had some of the best bass and drum work on the album (killer bass line). It’s incredible how much energy a great rhythm section can add to the music. This might be best exemplified on “To Be Loved” as the rhythm section carries most of the song. Of the Pack save their most epic song for last with “Nothing Last” as it has enough hooks and changes to make your head spin.
Overall, Bitter is an exceptional EP that sounds more cohesive than most albums. The band has a lot going for it and it will not surprise me one bit if you hear a lot more from these guys in 2014.
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