REV – Five Song Demo EP

Five Song Demo EP

Just to get this out of the way, allow me to start by mentioning that REV is a sort of Detroit super-group. Drummer/vocalist Charlie Grover was last seen drumming for Sponge, while guitarist/vocalist Todd Price and bassist Mike Dolant are late of the band Plain (and thus responsible for “Life Without Ambition,” one of the finest tracks ever to grace the Deep Elm Emo Diaries collections).

With the requisite biographical information about the band, I feel free to say that REV pumps out some killer pop/punk/emo influenced rock music. The band’s sound really falls right between that of the members’ previous projects, with the more ’emo’ tendencies of Plain mixed with the thick guitar sound of Sponge. The five tracks here were recorded and produced in the band’s basement studio, and even though the band calls this a “demo,” the tracks rock with a raw power that no amount of post-production could bring out. With the exception of a few guitar overdubs, these five demos are a fine representation of REV’s live sound.

“Drag Me Down” opens the disc with a throbbing bassline and catchy rhythm guitars that lead to a short-but-sweet sing along chorus. “So Long” slows down the pace while still chugging along with a thick rhythm guitar piece, while “Girls Don’t Talk To Me” proves that REV is ready for radio with a catchy hook and popular subject matter (“Girls don’t talk to me/they don’t even like me”). The track comes off as a catchy hybrid of Blink 182’s “Dammit” and Husker Du’s “Don’t Wanna Know if You are Lonely,” practically screaming “radio single” all the way. “I Don’t Wanna Know” leans more in the Sponge direction of things, with a dirtier guitar tone and a darker edge to the song altogether. The disc closes out with “Represent,” a slower tune wrapped around a fuzzed-out bass sound. The rhythm guitars that break in during the verses are just brutal, bringing to mind memories of Sugar. The inclusion of a guitar solo here adds to the impression that for as emo as it may sound at times, REV is out to rock – no questions asked.

The band’s live shows are quite intense and relatively goofy all at the same time, lacing REV’s remarkable original material with covers such as Van Halen’s “Panama” and AC/DC’s “Back In Black.” Plain fans might even recognize “Accounted For” in REV’s setlists, as well. This demo definitely catches the concept of the band’s live show, from the thick guitars to the infectiously catchy choruses to every song. At only 18 minutes long, though, the band really leaves a lot of begging to be done for a full-length release – and fast. Still, it’s quite the admirable debut for a band that’s still recording in the basement.