Album Review
The Dormers - Just Beneath the Surface EP Album Cover

The Dormers - Just Beneath the Surface EP

Reviewed by
The Dormers - Just Beneath the Surface
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: Dec. 1, 2009
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
The Dormers are a rock duo comprised of Rob Garrett (vocals, guitars) and Andrew Guard (bass, drums, vocals). The group formed on Cape Cod in 2007. The duo formerly played in the Boston-band Mersa from 2003-2005. The group draws inspiration from The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Otis Redding, and Glenn Tillbrook. Just Beneath the Surface is their debut EP.

How is it?
Pretty damn good. As the great James Brown once said "Music is supposed to breathe and sweat, its meant to be played live." That expressions seems apt for the debut EP from Boston-band The Dormers. Beginning with the hard-hitting and percussive "Save Me," the group sings of dead end streets and the city sleeping, but the song structure is far too weak to support the song's earnest intentions. As an album opener it's inspired and urgent, but not entirely the most promising opening track.

The exercise moves forward with "Rhythm of the Streets," a blazing, breakneck pop song with "woo hoo" vocals and an impassioned movement that's anchored by the lines, "Glass captures fractured cuts, it was all pure physical touch. I got soul in my feet from the rhythm of the streets." The group dives back into accessible, radio-ready fare on "Hurricane," a polished single that is mature, professional and incredibly confident. An urgent breakdown at the two-minute mark makes the song that much more memorable. A social diatribe of sorts, Garrett sings, "There's a murder on the street and there's a shooting next to me. There was a car wreck next to me, but no one gives a s--t."

The EP continues with the solacing and deeply affecting "Just Beneath the Surface." Of all the EPs offerings, none are as engaging as this and it's a song the band can be quite proud of. Vocals that propel from the speakers and pounding drums concuss and shudder. As the propulsive, sweaty movement spits forward, vocalist Rob Garrett sings, "It's crazy what a trainwreck I am lately, " and somehow the song's frenetic movement seems to echo the verses' very sentiment. Swerving, herky-jerky and hectic, "Just Beneath the Surface," is a juggernaut of a song.

The disc rests with the rattle and clang of "Shatter," as the quartet pushes forward with an anthemic, stadium-ready hook that's bombastic and tenacious. Once again, Garrett's lyrics take center stage as he sings, "This is the soundtrack to my better days. Drowning in oceans of rust and decay. Hope is restored, cause love comes easy. No one can change my American way."

With an introspective look at their own collective failings, hopes and dreams; and an outward look at modern society's hiccups and bruises, the tandem of Garrett and Guard have tapped into something pretty profound here. While it's not quite Springsteen, it's definitely a cut above current punk-inspired music. That this is only their debut, Just Beneath the Surface is pretty darn auspicious.

Recommended If You Like The Clash, Fat Wreck Chords, AJ Peters production, strong-lunged vocalists

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11:27 AM on 12/24/09
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01:38 PM on 12/29/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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