DeNunzio – Auditory Crash Course EP

Auditory Crash Course EP

One of my favorite Denver bands, Acrobat Down, broke up just when it seemed they had so much going for them. They struggled with losing a member, breaking up and then playing some more, and finally called it quits. It appears that the decision was freeing to its members, and now three former Acrobat Down musicians have regrouped to form DeNunzio, but mostly to have fun.
There are quite a few similarities, as you’d expect when three of the four members form a new band. The rhythm section is extremely strong and talented, and the guitar provides very crisp, slightly jangly lines to compliment the music. What’s missing here is the second guitar and Acrobat Down’s high-pitched singer. Instead, the vocal duties are carried by all three members, but predominantly guitarist Hans. And while they don’t sound confident and precise yet, they aren’t much of a let-down.
Really, instead of a letdown from one of my favorite band’s break-up, I’m surprised at how loose yet strong DeNunzio is. They haven’t been playing all that long, and you can tell that the production values don’t quite match up to their previous efforts. Vocals are mixed too far back, and the single guitar isn’t quite prominent enough. But while the guys sound loose and a bit rough at times, their obvious talent and years of playing together come through to make these some pretty damn good songs.
“I Wonder” starts things off with a nice up-tempo beat and those interesting rhythms that Acrobat Down always showcased, not quite start-stop, but changing and intricate. “Cellophane” is a fun, up-beat power-pop song with some moody percussion, while you’ll be bopping your head and dancing to the drum-heavy and keyboard-laced “Barely There.” Finally guitars take more prominence on “Hadadigm,” their best and most unique song, which manages to convey some really interesting and intense emotion with the use of cello, backing vocals, and nice lyrics. “So You Know” is back to pure up-beat fun rock, and there’s even some kick-ass 80s metal-like riffage on the high-powered “The Invitation.” The closer, “The Sounds of Tuesday,” feels most like an old Acrobat Down moment, from its change of tempos, its pristine and jangly guitar lines, and its tight precision.
No, I won’t admit to liking this as much as Acrobat Down’s final full-length, but then DeNunzio haven’t been playing as their own unit long enough to completely jell. I hope they continue, however, because all the framework for a strong three-piece are here. With a bit more time and some better production, I expect great things.