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Rock supergroups are always equally fraught with potential for both triumph and failure – if well-known or respected musicians come together for any reason other than an organic one, it tends to lead to, at best, forgettability, and, at worst, soulless product. Not so with E, the Boston-based power trio that includes Karate drummer/singer Gavin McCarthy, Neptune singer/multi-instrumentalist Jason Sanford and legendary singer/guitarist Thalia Zedek (Come, Live Skull, Uzi, Dangerous Birds). These three each bring experience with noisy yet accessible rock & roll, and know exactly how to bring out each other’s strengths.
On Complications, the band’s third album, E explores the nooks and crannies of high volume guitar rock, rarely reducing themselves to mere butt-kicking. On “Sunrise,” McCarthy pounds his drums steadily while Zedek and Sanford arpeggiate themselves around each other, conducting a mighty roar without blasting away. “Like a Leaf” explores emotional vulnerability with dissonant power rock in the same wheelhouse as Jawbox. The cranking postpunk of “Dead Drop” and the uneasy seethe of “Contagion Model” contrast nicely with the brooding janglecrunch of “Gelding” and the powerhouse demi-pop of “Caught.” With the eagerness of neophytes and the maturity of veterans, E delves into each facet of its musical model, easily maintaining its signature sonic identity no matter which twist or turn it takes.
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