It seemed for a short time, when one group wanted to share with the world the power of being album to rock as a duo. I’m sure some mainstream critics thought “oh no, another trend from the indie crowd” but there have been countless duos who have made some great music by keeping it simple. Redgrave‘s National Act EP (Lovitt) is stripped down to the essence: drums and guitar. Nothing more, and for now nothing less. It sounds more brutal than the actual ingredients, or that is to say that it sounds like there’s a 4-piece band here and when you realize “that’s it?”, you are content and want to listen further. But it is the songs that work beautifully, whether it is in duo form or perhaps one day when people take on Redgrave as an influential duo. Vocalist/guitarist Angie Mead sound like she was trained by some of the best screamers, and yet could sound quite remarkable if they were to go in country form. Drummer Stephen Howard compliments her and drives her dirges home, together creating the kind of grungy style that might make Melvins, White Stripes, Boris, and Jucifer smile from ear to ear. The grooves rip, they could be hard rock, metal, indie rock, grunge, or whatever trendy terms people want to use to say “wow, this is fucking awesome”. Then you have a vocalist who is indie rock’s version of Jennifer Nettles, where what you hear can only be touching the surface of everything else you’d like to hear her do. Take what you can get, but say thank you in return. National Act is bluesy too, perhaps due to their Chicago upbringing but whatever you get out of this, you’re going to want to side with them for life. This is a keeper.
(National Act will be released on June 12th.)