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Underwing - Spirals

by Jack Lynch at 02 July 2019, 6:22 AM

Norwegian groove rockers UNDERWING follow up their acclaimed 2017 release “Kaela Upsweep” with an impressive four-track EP “Spirals”. Just like their debut outing, listeners are treated to some catchy grunge tunes that are accessible enough for most rock music lovers yet weighty enough to satisfy the appetites of heavier listeners. The ending result leaves the door wide open for a very promising full-length release hopefully soon.

For those unfamiliar with the UNDERWING’s sound, the first thing you will say when you hear the first track “ALL RISE”, is “ALICE IN CHAINS”.  It’s the most obvious band that comes to mind and for good reason, lead singer Enyeto's voice could literally be the late Layne Staley's doppelganger. This alone shouldn’t give the band any undeserved praise, but Kotori knows how to use his instrument properly and his writing is smart. As with the final track (perhaps the best song) “We Lie Awake,"  Kotori weaves his vocal arraignments in and out of grungy groove guitar riffs, allowing room for breakdowns to be soaked up, while  longer bouncier strumming patterns naturally  blend into the chorus. In other words; he justifies the comparison to perhaps one of the most recognizable voices of rock’s past.

This isn’t to say that the vocalist is the only thing that makes UNDERWING a fun listen. The guitar work, while conceptually simple on its surface, harbors some off-timed signatures that reach beyond the realm of standard grunge. “Caveman” for instance, the longest track clocking in at 8 minutes, takes its time as it builds through multiple movements, exploring each section with bursts of groove and guitar solos. With an ending that refuses to end, the rest of the band show they can be explore more progressive elements and still right a catchy hook.

The only downside for me, as it is with most EP’s, is that I feel the experience is never complete. There’s always room for a fifth song, and with an EP as good as “Spirals” it would’ve been nice to have had that as a bookend to fill everything out. Hopefully UNDERWING is setting themselves up for a very strong full-length album in the near future. If they are, I’d take no issue with them mixing any of these songs in with that final line up.

Everything falls together rather nicely with ‘Spirals”. The vocals and the instrumental work fit together like the final few pieces of a jig-saw puzzle. There is a certain charm the band organically emits from their sound. The production is stripped down in a good way, highlighting an almost garage rock feel to the whole album. The do-it-your-self nature plays in the band’s favor as it works with some solid song writing that’s catchy, heavy, and full of life. I would recommend any fan of grunge, groove, or metal to check it out. While the experience may not knock your socks off, I think you’ll most likely find something to appreciate here.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. All Rise
2. Caveman
3. Spirals
4. We Lie Awake
Enyeto Kotori
Joachim Walle Michalsen
Thomas Myhren
Jesper Murphy
Magnus Christiansen
Record Label: Pinecone Records


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