Second Hand Static is a band based out of Chicago that started off playing covers. Like a good majority of bands they got tired of playing other people's tunes because gosh darn it we have things to say as well. The band comprised of John Maher (guitars, vocals), Chris Dunn (lead guitar), Jon Glabus (bass) and Brian Lamberty (drums) recently released their self-titled debut album Second Hand Static. Second Hand Static makes rock/alternative music that can draw comparisons to ‘90s bands like Foo Fighters and Local H. As long as you haven’t been living in a cave for the last twenty-five years this music shouldn’t feel unfamiliar. For the most part the songs are fun and well written if not particularly innovative. The majority of the songs revolve around distorted power chords and visceral vocal work that is supported by drums and bass.
At fourteen songs the album overstays its welcome by a tad (although the first and last track aren’t even thirty seconds long). For a debut release it may have been more impactful to have less songs since most people’s attention span has gone out the window for new music and bands. That being said it’s the only minor gripe I have with the album.
There are a couple of highlights amongst the batch that got my attention right away. The opener “Small Fry” works on a number of levels and can also draw a lot of comparisons to the Foo Fighters. I’m not just talking about the music here. Maher sounds like David Grohl especially during the verse and when he omits a sustained growl. This song also features some of the best lead guitar work on the album. There is some exceptional drum work on “Bending Arms” while “Dissolving Walls” leaves the distortion off in favor of a more spacious canvas.
“Pineapple Pachyderm” contains some of the most accomplished instrumental work on the album. Stylistically, they are all over the place and sound like a jam band that is into Rage Against the Machine. Not every song works on the album and the band still seems to be in the transition from playing covers to originals.
The band is tight, the songs are decent but they haven’t quite found that element that thoroughly defines Second Hand Static. This album was recorded in 2012 so there is a possibility they have evolved their sound. Sometimes it take a little time for a band to figure out who they are, just look at Notwist.
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