Sometimes the magic that happens in a studio ain’t happening. Pandemic realized this first time the first time they entered and subsequently made some lineup changes. The band found the right chemistry when John Robinson (lead singer) and Tony Howarth (bassist) entered into the equation and combined forces with Si Powers (guitars), Pete Essex (guitars) and Lewis Dyson (drums). The final result is a four-song EP entitled Over on the Darkside.
These five young men are equivocally rockers and bring music that sounds somewhere between ‘80s hair metal, Queens of The Stage and a tinge of Slash (from Guns N Roses). Aesthetically, the songs sound great. The guitars are meaty, gritty and sound powerful in the mix as the vocals sit comfortably between the instruments.
This is rock music that hipsters haven’t yet considered cool again (give it a couple of years). It lacks pretension and embraces guitar solos. The songs are served best blasting out of your car, while at the shooting range or my personal favorite - chopping lumber.
The boys kick things off with “Phoenix Bones.” A slick guitar rides up the neck during the verse as the bass and drums hold down the fort. When the bridge enters they don’t mess around with half-assed guitar solos. The guitar screams in a retro ‘80s fashion.
“Darkside” features more in your face guitar action while Robinson sings, “Come over here and play/What will they hear you say/Please oh please me this way… Over on the dark side.” Robinson sings about sex in the same way Warrant used to. Not exactly lyrics that will make you think but it gets the job done. “Only For One Night” contains a lot of rock 101 ‘80s protocol. The song starts off with a nasty guitar riff and follows a structure that Guns N Roses would have been fine with back in 1989. Robinson proceeds to sing about a night of decadence that he surely won’t regret.
If you have spun Lies and Appetite for Destruction one too many times then you should give these guys a listen. They fill a gap in rock that didn’t necessarily need refilling but nonetheless brings some pain.
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