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"Don't Mess This Up" / The Place on Rugby E.P. Review

Growing up, close friendships never really appeared to have had a "cease by" date. Everyone usually just assumed the relationship would go on forever. Then reality sets in and with a blink of an eye it’s over. Unless of course you had plan B in place – starting a band!

Yes, I know, that isn’t how it really works, but don't count the idea out completely as results in some cases have shown to have had interesting outcomes, like piecing together a killer band by the name of The Place on Rugby.

This Huntington Park quintet was a delightful find, and there is no hesitation in saying they have a promising formula that can potentially go somewhere. There newest E.P., “Don’t Mess this Up”, conjured a nostalgic feeling of sorts, and has been on repeat for the past few days.

"Don't mess this Up" is comprised of six tracks featuring five energetic songs with strong undertones of those once prominent NYC guitar bands a la Interpol and the National, coupled with a vocalist highlighting an eerily striking similarity to Julian Casablancas’ unforgettable vocal technique (no issue there). The first five tracks vary in tempo and theme, accentuating typical issues found in everyday life. They hook you in with the quick tempo of "Don't Wanna Fall Back", a song culminating saturated tones from the rhythm guitar and those catchy driven leads supplementing the harmonies. Next comes "Fuck It", a song closely resonating the Strokes with the ambitious overdrive and distortion from the guitars glazed over by Jessie's boxy vocals giving the song that lo-fi quality feel. "One Night Stand" starts off with the brief solo riff carrying a twangy reverb sound until joined about ten seconds in by the rest of the group. The lead then changes to a distorted guitar sound, still harboring an overall "ride off into the sunset vibe". Here, Jessie almost invokes Alex Ebert's charismatic, psychedelic-inflected tone. "Reaction" is a fun number on the EP. Talk about some interesting leads carried by heavy bass driven tempo. Take a listen to lyrics on this, as Hairo and Jessie definitely opened up. The last two tracks have nice little melodies with an electronic feel that would make Mark Mothersbaugh happy. Seriously, were these composed for a Michael Cera flick?

Overall, the E.P. has a strong collection of well put and thought out songs. With good production quality and a good flow it is deserving of an 8 out of 10. Give these guys a listen

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