Booster Club call themselves a “College Rock Revival™ band” from the Raleigh-Durham area. The band features singer/guitarist Steven Bailey and bassist Alan Levine. Their music is an unholy marriage of Superchunk and R.E.M., with Bob Mould, The Pixies and the Replacements joining them at the altar. Despite these influences, the band feels like their songs stand on their own, “being delivered with an authentic fervor fueled by death-anxiety and caffeine. Despite sharing common aesthetics with pre-internet college radio artists, Booster Club takes on forward-leaning sensibilities that are unafraid to veer from anthemic hooks to art-rock chaos.”
Bailey appears to be the main (but not the only) songwriter. He says he writes everything “in my head” then starts working out arrangements on piano or acoustic guitar, which is surprising once you first experience the songs! He often doesn’t hear them “loud” until he plays them for the band.
These three songs were recorded to capture a live feel in a controlled environment, with drums, bass and rhythm guitar played at the same time, followed by vocals and additional overdubs. I’ve been trying to figure out who their drummer is, but no name is listed. Bailey recorded these tracks on his Yamaha AW16g vintage digital recorder at D & D Studio in Durham, NC. Mixing and mastering was by the band using online mastering sites.
“Here Kid” explodes off the Bandcamp page with a ferocious energy! This is classic alternative rock, as influenced by the punk bands of the late ’70s (especially The Clash). The guitars are razor sharp, the bass busy and angry, and the drumming full and inventive. To address the (old) elephant in the room, it’s clear from the photo featuring a bald, bearded guy on the cover that the Booster Club are not spring chickens (though neither am I), but the vocals have the ageless sound of wild young men in leather and chains. Just over two minutes but a killer track!
“All Right” again reminds me of The Clash, especially in the vocal harmonies. With a song like this it’s more clear to me how Bailey can construct these tunes on piano or acoustic guitar. This particular track has a few tricky changes you won’t see coming, along with a chanting, anthemic chorus.
“Say It Out Loud” doesn’t exactly slow down, but has a more stately pop-rock tempo and feels a little wider instrumentally. Bailey’s vocals have a bit more room to play, and he’s every bit as good when you can really hear him. The guitars have a surprisingly twangy Beatles quality as well, or Beatles as refracted by a thousand groups that came after. The last minute or so is a wall-to-wall guitar fest, playing the basic chords over and over with increasingly frantic drumming.
This is the very definition of a short EP but these guys don’t waste a single moment. Powerful stuff!
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