Artist: Peace’d Out
Album: Peace’d Out
The last time I was in New York City, my friend Billy and I had cupcakes from Magnolia’s on 53rd street, and then we got vanilla milkshakes at a Mr. Softy’s. I’d never had Mr. Softy before, and the woman running the show immediately told us she made the greatest milkshakes in the world. I doubted her – they were five dollar milkshakes, so based on my Pulp Fiction watching, it better be damn good, but greatest? That’s ridiculous. She asked us to give us reviews out of 10. Billy gave her a 9.5, and wanted more ice, a certain chill on the top. I gave her a 9, with my only reasoning being that “I don’t give out perfect 10s.”
My only complaint about this EP is that it ends.
When I first heard Peace’d out, I really didn’t know what to expect. All of the RX Bandits were amazing musicians (let alone Steve Choi), and that always meant something to me; Vinnie Caruana had a unique but not so heavy voice, but I didn’t know if they could mix well. I honestly hadn’t ever listened to the Velvet Teen, No Motiv, or the Warriors, so the other two members were just there for mystery. But even with Vinnie and Steve, I was unsure of the finished product. Just because I like root beer and vodka doesn’t mean root beer vodka tastes good (bartending school student opinion: it doesn’t.) But this isn’t root beer vodka, my friends. This is a Margarita. This is a White Russian. This is Corona with lime. This is majestic and beautiful in its own distorted way, where I almost don’t want to view the pieces as anything besides the whole.
Don’t get me wrong, I hope the RX Bandits keep making records, I’ll have to check out the Warriors, the Velvet Teen, and No Motiv, and I hope Vinnie keeps busy being himself. I cannot believe how well Vinnie pulls off this screaming, and this whole album feels like members of Yes or Tool decided to make a hardcore album and thrash away in challenging, intense music, and somehow there’s a pop sensibility to it all. There’s harmonies on this album, and simple, catchy melodies. And a man is screaming his ass off and getting me rallied up. How could I have expected that?
All of their self titled debut stands out. “Castlevania” closes it out strongly with a strange rhythm that most non-musicians wouldn’t be able to tangibly explain, but no one should be able to forget. “White Pyramid” lets you in softly with a synth string part, only to go into a heavy part with guitar harmonies more often found in 70s prog rock, and then coddles you with its organ outro at the end. “Cha-Chang-Chang Chainmail” features a heavy vocal chant in the middle that deserves to be recognized as them using simplicity with purpose. “I Would Like. To Feed Your Fingerprints. To The Wolverines.” is a nonstop thrash fest exploding with energy. “Baadering Ram” keeps the train rolling to the point where my biggest letdown isn’t anything about the EP. The EP is five songs, and ends in less than twelve minutes. My biggest letdown is that when it ends, I’m no longer listening to it.
I want to go back to New York City and buy another milk shake. I want to tell her it’s still a 9, and that there’s nothing wrong with it, but it just didn’t captivate me to call it perfection. I want to tell her that it was a great milkshake, maybe the best I ever had, but it wasn’t a 10. I want to say I’d know when something deserves a 10 in some intangible way.
Peace’d out made a hard to explain but easy to understand record: they wanted to do what they wanted to do, and they did it. I want to be caught in that wave. I want old ladies to look at me as I blare my speakers with this driving to the grocery store. I want to run faster on my runs listening to this. I want to get punched in the face at one of their shows and like it. It’s both familiar and unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. This will be my favorite record of the year; my question is where it falls all time. I’ve heard some killer tunes and hesitated to give even a positive statement before because I wasn’t sure it would last longer than a honeymoon, but this EP and I are going to be married for a long time. In a time where most music isn’t pushing at all, they have pushed sound to its limits and left me at the edge, looking down, wanting more. There’s too much depth, there’s too much precision, there’s too much musicality and too much aggression.
It’s too perfect.
Review by Dan Bogosian