The White Rhinos comprised of Caleb Reed (guitar), Matthew Posey (drums), Kyle Buckner (bass/keys) and Marcos Mateus (vocals) first played together a little over a year ago and already managed to squeak out an EP entitled Happyless.
The band has a proclivity of ‘70s psychedelic rock and garage rock. They also manage to mix some experimental elements here and there. The production and recording quality is decent but would have had more of a visceral impact with a better quality. I would argue that the songs on this EP would sound great with the production you hear on an album by The White Stripes or The Strokes not the top 40 type of sound.
The EP starts with the title track which is a straightforward garage rock that has a lot of similarities to The Strokes. Mateus’ vocals are on top of the mix rather than finding a space between the music but nonetheless he delivers a heartfelt performance. The song has a couple of solid guitar solos towards the end, which give it a ‘70s feel.
They display their most potential on the second track “Shake.” I thought the guitar parts were inventive and around the two-minute mark is where the song starts to get really good. The music at this point is dark, ominous and gets into very experimental territory. As much as I loved the section some of the high frequencies of the lead guitar desperately needed to be shaved off.
The band never reaches the peaks of “Shake” again but there are still some solid songs. ”Black Vine” contains one of Mateus’ best vocal performances while “Astral” has cosmic lead guitar parts. “Scary Laugh” is the closer, which has vocal parts that feel like they are singing in a play.
The White Rhinos is off to a solid start but has all the hallmarks of a young band who still has work to do before they can compete with the most innovative artists of today. I think as long as they continue to define their sound and eventually get a professional recording they should be well on their way.
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