The rock scene in California is no stranger to consistently delivering the highest quality, solid rock music to your ever thankful ears. Idlewar and their debut E.P “Dig In” is automatically ranked among that category. From it’s ballsy, head bang worthy riffs to its slow ‘Zeppelin-esque’ blues, all magnificently stuffed up to its eyeballs with the kind of groove that makes you lose your shit no matter what environment you’re in.
This power trio from Orange County is the result of drummer Pete Pagonis, after a seven-year break from a music career consisting of jamming with icons such as Tom Morello. A search for some good guys who were good musicians who shared similar influences led him to Rick Graham (guitar) and James Blake (bass and vocals) and in his own words.. “I got fucking IDLEWAR”
The opening song entitled, “Chunk of Me” hits you where it should from the moment you push play, throwing you straight into an instant post- grunge classic that has just the right hint of that Foo Fighters take on rock and roll. This is probably the song that sticks out after listening to the whole E.P. because it differs in style to the other songs and I’m not sure if it does so in the best way. It’s an interesting way to start a record, but I wasn’t against it due to its opening impact and punk rock structure. This song is also accompanied by a video which is a delightfully clichéd black and white studio video, with simplistic reputability and beards.
The second track “Out of My Head” definitely shows more of the true raw sound of the band . Opening with a perfect homage to Jimmy page, Rick Graham’s crunchy guitar tones and a riff to instantly move your head to. I believe this would have been a more fitting opening to the E.P. Yes; it lacks the high energy levels of “Chunk of Me” but I can’t help but feel this title track would have been more of an insight as to what to expect from the overall sound of the band. The rest of the tracks which are titled; “Eleventeen”, “Feel the Pain” and “Stronger”, follow more of a classic rock style. Consistently combining the groovy, crunchy instrumentation of Clutch (which is emphasised by the raw, high-pitched and perfectly executed vocal styling of James Blake) with the indie rock, post grunge element that makes you aware that these guys are big Foo Fighters fans. Overall, the E.P bursts this band into the scene in exactly the right way at the right time. Idlewar radiate the essence of a high energy main stage act whilst maintaining the homegrown, easy to relate to, garage rock band they set out to be nothing more than.
The artwork is unfortunately a bit lacking in individuality, the problem isn’t just the fact that the idea is overused, it’s just the way the idea is portrayed and in this case, rather unimaginative. The band have no upcoming events scheduled, however a fun, spit and sawdust, easy listening rock band such as Idlewar are sure to make as late additions to this summers festival season. The record was good but in the setting of a hot summers afternoon, with a cold beer and Orange County’s new gem blasting, I believe the band will bring even more of the right energy and have the potential to be the next Clutch.