Local Staten Island punk/grunge band Diet are releasing an EP very, and upon the first listen, I'm in love. Diet consists of Thom Kinnear of guitar/vocals, Michal Pando on bass/backing vocals, and George Bulger on the drums, not to mention, the recent addition of Chris Taranto on guitar/vocals (he does all backing vocals on the EP).
The EP opens up with "Zooey," and has an erie feel to it with the way the guitars and bass seem to wave back and fourth over light drum work. It has a soothing yet hypnotizing feel to it. The track breaks into a standard groove and melody around the 1:40 mark of the song. The vocals come in and go perfectly with the music, and has a Brand New type haunting vibe to it, before the song yet again switches around at 3:55. In kicks the heaviness and the gritty guitars with louder vocals. For lack of a better word, a really cool song to kick off the album.
"Gaze" is a straight up punk song from the first snare hit, and sounds like a throwback to the late 70s and early 80s. To be quite honest, after the first track I feel like I'm listening to a totally different band. It really is an amazing switch of genres.
Next up is "Shapes," which mellows the fast paced previous track down. The song feels drum driven as steady tom rolls swing rhythmically with the guitars building an instrumental tension of what's to come next.
And what's next is the "Short Song," as it flows directly from the last and picks up around 1:05. As the name suggests, the song is over quickly but in that short span they reminded me of Relient K's first album, one of my favorite punk albums by the way...
"Shoe Bomber" goes back to more of a 90s signature punk style, think old Blink 182, MxPx, or the aforementioned Relient K. The driving guitars lead to a nice solo section toward the end flowing over pulsing drums.
Up next is the single,"Knee Brace." I previously spoke about this track and it's no secret I'm a big fan of it, and so is everyone else locally. The verse is super fast, the bridge is super melodic and features a lot of bassy goodness along with effected guitar work. The transitions are great between the instrumental and the vocals.
"Planks" is the final track on the EP. Again Diet slows the tempo down, and focuses on instrumentation as the vocal point. The song has a very distinct bass line, a signature sound on guitar that kind of runs as a theme throughout the album. The vocals on this are really soft, and the track has a little more of an indie, Nirvanish appeal to it. About mid way through the song, it starts coming undone and intentionally falls apart. The distortion is cranked up, strings are plucked feverishly and chaotically, but the bass and drums remain a constant as the song sort of descents into itself.
Overall, the album is work of art unto itself. I am actually blown away by this band's artistic ability, and their willingness to stray away from the stereotypical notions of punk rock being "easy" and "non-musically" driven. Diet manages to take the best parts of classic punk, 90s punk, indie rock, and alternative and mesh them into a melting pot of an EP that flows from one song to the next seamlessly.
Thom Kinnear's vocals and vision as a guitarist and vocalist are extraordinary. Michal Pando's bass playing is so fluid and succinct, that most of the songs would simply not sound so pretty without him, and George Bulger's drumming is on point. The way he effortlessly switches between fast and slow, heavy and soft, tom rolls and straight up snare and bass is great!
Diet isn't playing any games or holding anything back, and with the addition of Chris Taranto are sure to, if not already, change the way people think of punk music. Hands down my favorite local submission of the year. Well done gentlemen.