Sunday, April 2, 2017

Cost of Attrition - There You Go

Cost of Attrition - There You Go 

Ah, the brashness of youth. Cost of Attrition’s debut There You Go features three tracks that come brawling out of the speakers with an unabashedly melodic hard rock sound that has a real swagger surrounding every note. The truly remarkable thing about this duo is the self-assurance they project. There’s nothing shy about these songs. Wheeler Castaneda and Joshua Grow make quite a racket for being the band’s only members and while listeners might be justified in questioning how effectively they can reproduce these songs live with only two members, there’s no doubt that the material is geared to succeed in that setting. These are bracing tracks with a visceral sound and abundant musical chops, but their youthfulness doesn’t mean they lapse into self-indulgence. Few debuts you will hear in 2017 have the focus you find with this release. Cost of Attrition might be selling a hybrid combination of rock, pop/rock, and electronica, but their Midwestern roots means they go after it all with a refreshing lack of pretension.  

The lack of pretension is evident from the beginning. The EP opener “Not Your Psycho” is a distinctly modern tune that makes great use of traditional hard rock elements. Joshua Grow excels at providing guitar and rhythm section accompaniment and provides a seamless backing for Castaneda’s singing. Castaneda is an amazing case – this is a guy who definitely has the pipes to make a convincing hard rock singer, but he also brings a tangible humanity to his vocal performances that most working in this area lack. His voice is, easily, strong enough to compete with the thunderous musical accompaniment, but don’t get the wrong idea – the musical accompaniment provided by Grow hits hard, but it’s never artless and, instead, moves in a deep and genuine groove. “Oh Yeah” has a much stronger groove than the fine opener and the additional spaces of daylight in the arrangement gives it a much more inexorable feel. Grow’s guitar playing is a little more restrained here and the song relies primarily on the interplay between bass and drums, but the guitar comes in at all of the right times and makes its presence known. The title song takes a very different route to the same results enjoyed in the first two songs. “There You Go” dispenses with the powerful electric guitar work in the first two songs and, instead, laces this song with energetic acoustic guitar. The faster tempo helps compensate for some inevitable loss of power that comes from ditching the electric guitar crunch, but Grow plays acoustic with much of the same combination of abandon and technique. 

Cost of Attrition are the sort of unique act that used to come along more frequently, but has never been plentiful. The creative energy struck up between Castaneda and Grow stands out in a crowded field for its obvious honesty – there’s no short cuts taken with this music, no dishonesty, no gimmickry. The three songs on There You Go present us the band as they are in this fleeting moments of time and glows brightly with future promise. 

9 out of 10 stars 

Bradley Johnson

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