The Danbees release EP
“Down at the Bar” will likely end 2018 as one of the most bracing rock singles in recent memory. The first single from The Danbees’ soon to be released EP The Veggie Tapes is a four to the floor rock song with the sort of sinewy, sharp edge ruggedness we expect and hope for in all rock music. They don’t sound like a band of pretenders merely aping what they’ve heard from more talented contemporaries and peers but, rather, like a band whose taken their influences, filtered them through their own experiences and skill, and come out the other side with familiar music given a personal spin we don’t often hear this far into rock music’s history. Led by drummer Wade McManus and front man/songwriter Mark Slotoroff, The Danbees has hit upon a lineup with one of a kind chemistry and they rage with their willingness to throw it all on the line with each new performance. “Down at the Bar” is their finest moment yet.
The song construction is a big reason why it succeeds. Running just over two and a half minutes, it bristles with punk rock level vitality while nevertheless demonstrating the sort of instrumental acumen you’d rarely, if ever, hear from dyed in the wool punk rock acts. Bassist Sam Enright doubles Shane Matthews’ guitar with powerful effects and the initial rave up carrying the audience into the main body of the song moves with the sort of electrifying energy that live audiences eat up. Matthews, likewise, demonstrates a formidable talent for straight up bruising rock guitar and the warm, raw sound from his instrument gives the song a lot of its musical character. “Down at the Bar” has all of the two-fisted physicality of a night drowning in drink and music, but forsakes any of the blurriness and lack of focus we might think of when reading those words.
There are no self-indulgent displays of musicianship or gratuitous exhibitions of lyrical prowess. Instead, everything with “Down at the Bar” is cut close to the bone without an note or word of fat dragging the track down and much of the song’s color comes from lead singer Mark Slotoroff’s vocal performance. He’s all over the map, but firmly in control all the while, and will bulldoze listeners with the power of his voice. He uses it judiciously, however, never seeking to overwhelm the audience, and his vocal chops get inside the lyric as well elevating it far above just an afterthought. The subject matter and musical sound neatly dovetail into one another throughout the song. The Danbees are rising quick and its talent propelling them ever higher with each new release. “Down at the Bar” opens a new chapter for them and there’s no reason to believe many more will be forthcoming long after The Veggie Tapes is in their artistic rear view mirror.