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Redgrave – National Act EP

on June 13, 2012, 7:59am
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In theory, all a band needs to rock are a drummer and a vocalist/guitarist. As if to prove this hypothesis, hard-hitting blues/rock twosomes have been all the rage for the past decade. Yet, recent CoSign Redgrave is not the typical garage duo with a penchant for rock drenched in booze and blues. In fact, I didn’t know that Redgrave consisted solely of axe-wielding howler Angie Mead and the thunderous drums of Stephen Howard upon first listen, because their sound is more full-bodied than minimalist.

The White Stripes? The Kills? The Black Keys? The Plural Somethings? On Redgrave’s debut EP, National Act, that raw aesthetic is undeniably present, but the Chicago duo gives it a much-needed facelift. Mead’s formidable howl blazes throughout the record, exuding shades of PJ Harvey on the simmering “Taunt” and “Assault Song”. On opener “Dick Moves”, Mead channels the demonic fury of Robert Plant, backed with discordant guitar noise and grungy percussive crunch. It’s the ’70s and the ’90s, blended with the blues and served extra dirty.

Mead’s pipes may soar, but her guitar licks are heavy to the point of sludgy, delivering enough bass tones to make a hypothetical third member an exercise in excess. In support is the grunge-meets-post-rock hammering of Howard, with the two forces creating an onslaught in “Custom A”. In nature, as power and intensity increase in a frenetic fury, accuracy tends to become irrelevant. However, the barbarous sound of Redgrave is less of an explosion and more of a precise laser cranked up to “death ray.”

Essential Tracks: “Dick Moves” and “Custom A”

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