Bay Area post-grunge/psych-rock outfit Drowning Effect recently released their new album, Techniculture, via their Vibraphone label imprint.
The band’s name – Drowning Effect – reflects the pervasive milieu of surplus information in today’s world, while their sound conjures up influences from ‘70s psych bands and ‘90s alt-rock, such as Blue Cheer, The Stooges, Jane’s Addiction, and Filter.
Made up of James Spadaro (bass, guitar), Thad Baker (guitar, vocals), and Mark Loftin (drums, percussion), Drowning Effect released their self-titled album in 2019.
Illuminating the band’s sound, Spadaro says, “If our music gives me one visual, it’s the chase scene from ‘Bullitt.'”
Of the ten tracks on the album, entry points include “Bright Lights,” which opens on searing, gritty guitars riding a pummeling rhythm. Baker’s slightly dreamy yet intense vocals infuse the lyrics with tight textures, vaguely reminiscent of Filter or Chevelle. Raw and dirty coloration gives the tune visceral energy.
“Headlines” opens on pop-flavored guitars exuding hints of punk and Brit-rock. There’s a definite retro feel to “Headlines,” harking back to early songs by the Stones merged with The Dave Clark Five. Blistering with angry bleeding licks, the guitar solo provides a stripped-down scorching sensation.
“Hand Over” offers a grinding, down-and-dirty relish, as if Jack White decided to cover Bad Company. Baker’s rasping voice complements the music perfectly. This track rocks! “You Come Running” oozes dark, dingy guitars traveling on a thrumming, galvanizing rhythm. For some reason, the song calls up memories of Bush, only more uncooked, surging with dense layers of coloration.
“Gun” begins with a cool, muddy drum shuffle, and then flows into psych-rock-flavored guitars pulsing with muscular tremors pushing out a ferocious wall-of-sound, murky and powerful with thick edges. While “Same Thing” recalls Bush blended with Filter. Baker’s tones deliver a snarling wail, soaring over the music on urgent timbres.
Like Stone Temple Pilots, but more boiling and clotted to the point of coagulation, “Rockskipper” might be the best track on the album because of its seething fuzziness.
With Techniculture, Drowning Effect releases one of the best albums of the year – edgy, impressive, and drenched in viscous dynamics.