Buckle up; things are going to get crusty in a hurry. Hailing from Ottawa, muelkik deliver the hard edge of city, street punk and throw a flair for catchy riffs into the mix with their release, Le Gnar.
The first thing to snag my ears was their sound. “Morris Black Can’t Open His Suitcase Pt.1” is a prime example of it, but especially the breakdown of “Conflicting Ideas.” A snare roll drives you into the raucous delivery of the verse while Mike VonGunten’s vocals are the perfect fit for the full-frontal beating on your hearing. Listening to this song, I can picture myself being whisked away into a moshpit on the shoulders of some burly dude. When this tune comes on, no one is safe. I like that most of Alex Gravelle’s drum fills during this song are on his snare. It’s tough to execute a tight, driven roll that way but he handles it well.
“See You Next Thursday” is the full sandwich to the previous song’s crust. It’s a muddy, stoner tune and to me it get’s a little repetitive. The dynamic doesn’t shift and there are too many cymbals for my taste. That guitar solo, though. It kicks in at 1:23 and holds you within the confines of each note. It’s nothing Steve Vai would write home about, but fuck that guy. Then, at 1:33, some dual guitar work starts. The effects are played below an arpeggio-like walk up. Michael Einziger would be proud.
Weren’t we always told that the key to success is to make sure the third song on any album was the hit? Well, “I’m A Dumb Guy, My Worldview Is Limited,” would be that song. It’s the most radio-friendly of the batch. It sounds like what Death Country would sound like if people weren’t so damn depressed. So, it sounds like what Death Country should sound like. It’s a straightforward tune, built in the standard verse, chorus, verse, chorus way, but with subtle surprises. A two-beat, acoustic drop? Yes, please. And a killer lick to pull everything together? Obviously. Add in Mike grinding some rusty emotion into his voice? Yup. This song pushes hard to become the overwhelming favourite of the album, but it isn’t for me. It’s good, but “Morris, Pt.1” is, hands down, your staple. Take that sound and run with it.
I enjoyed this album. Sure, the production value isn’t the best thing this century, but it adds to the allure of their sound. There are some faults, but nothing that sticks out as an album killer. It’s an album I’d be happy to throw into the rotation at a party.
Written by Aaron Deck
*edited by Danielle Kenedy