Brooklyn three-piece The Bygones! are a band whose main musical thrust is garage rock. Their debut EP ‘Radio, Ready or Not!’ has a DIY approach which gives everything a slightly rough around the edges feel. As debut releases go, it’s far from perfect, but to be fair, it is home to a couple of great numbers.
‘Gimme Some Space’ is a trashy piece of goodness which sounds like a cross between a ragged version of The Real Kids and Boston four piece Watts, if they were in a particularly shouty mood. Dan McGuinness’s drums are crashy and live sounding, which sound great placed against Billy Janisewski’s particularly urgent vocal and guitar work. Pulling everything together, Colin Van Deusen’s bassline is a bit lost under the raucousness, but in just under two minutes, The Bygones! clear the cobwebs on this number, proving that at full pelt, they’re a band with a lot of promise. Likewise, the rock ‘n’ roll twang which carries the title cut shows a great energy, with Janiszewski’s slightly warbling vocal line fitting the bill rather well. Van Deusen’s bass is audible on this track too, which is a major plus considering his playing is busy throughout. It’s also rather tight for this type of garage-based arrangement.
When The Bygones! slow things down, the cracks start to appear in their performance. ‘Sour Apple’ begins with a very retro guitar, while the bassline is solid and high in the mix. The basis for something decent is very much there, but the vocals are a little waily, never really settling in. A counter backing vocal does its best to make everything gel but, fact is, Janiszewski’s lead vocal just doesn’t blend as well as it should. It may work better live, of course, but here it’s in need of a bit of polish up, particularly when it comes to a particularly unrestrained ad lib just before the fade out. ‘Begging’ is musically better all round, with a stronger lead vocal. The real star on this number is Van Deusen, whose bass line really carries the piece with its unwavering approach. The end section where the band cut loose is just a little too rough around the edges once again, but it’s a minor point.
‘The Lonely Ones’ expands The Bygones! range to include a little 60s style power pop. The rhythms and general arrangement appears pleasing enough, but it’s a simple lead break which provides the track’s strongest element. This track also features the EP’s most memorable chorus, but stepping back and looking at the whole package, their sound isn’t terribly original. If you need a firm pointer for what to expect here, The Bygones! sound like a budget version of The Flamin’ Groovies. There’s not a lot wrong with that for a musical basis, but The Bygones! would have achieved better results if they’d been able to inject a little more of their own style into the recording.
Based on this debut EP, The Bygones! have lots of potential when it comes to a full-pelt approach, but generally need to work at their craft with regards the more mid paced stuff, or those tunes which require a little more subtlety. The DIY nature of their recording means The Bygones! are not necessarily ready for radio yet, but some the foundations are firmly in place.
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