This was originally posted on 1st June 2011. See the article here.
Seldom is it that a new band instigates a behavioural change, or alters one’s physicality in any perceivable way. An encounter with Drop Tank however, and the difference is apparent; brows raise, eyes widen, hairs stand on-end, backs straighten. This is rousing stuff.
Drop Tank formed in Sydney in late 2008, fronted by guitarist and singer Zebidy Tank, playing heavy, energy-fuelled rock. They honed their craft in the various warehouses and clubs of Marrickville, and now bring us their latest cut in the form of ‘Vice’.
First track ‘Saw Nothing’ opens the EP, bursting into life with a frenetic urgency, and playing host to one of the most confident vocal performances you’re ever likely to stumble across. Blistering guitars duel with impatience and purpose atop a furious and frantic rhythm, all held together by a strategically unwavering bass-line that counteracts the maniac qualities of the surrounding arrangement. The repetition of the riff is never jarring; in fact it becomes somewhat of a yearned-for companion, whose return you continually celebrate as the song progresses. The best thing for me about this track is the sheer balls of the beast; a song that isn’t afraid to scream its objective at you, and who else would dare to feature such a bombastic guitar solo in this day and age?
‘Medicine’ injects fresh attitude; a more traditional rock riff, steadier, paced and focused. This is confident head-banging territory. Double-tracked octave vocals portray an early Vines aesthetic, and the stop-start guitars provide respite from the preceding wall-of-sound. Here the vocals are elegant and tuneful, except for the beautifully sparse moments where lines are delivered with a growly snarl, and everything moves up a gear from brilliant to vital. This is a resolute track that can impress with nothing more than an ambitious drum fill and a primal scream.
The egotistically named ‘Drop Tank’ begins with a tantalising audio montage before giving way to another electric belter, reminiscent of classic Motorhead. The stability of the power chords gives the drums room to breathe here; the ingenuity and adventurousness of the fills is startling, and never approaches incoherence. There is a subtler use of guitar duelling, providing apt contrast to the striking shred-fest of a solo which progresses towards a heavily syncopated ending, where the unity of instrumentation gives real solidarity to what could have otherwise been a rhythmically cluttered section.
At this point I’d like to give mention to the production of the EP. It’s incredibly difficult to capture the raw energy of a band such as this, but here it is done with real clarity and skill, and lacks all the rough and off-putting qualities usually associated with unsigned efforts.
Closer ‘Juliette’ brings the whole EP into perspective. This is the reason ‘Vice’exists. This is the set-closer, the one people will scream to hear. Bright, exciting and uplifting, it feels like their ‘classic’, the track where everything makes sense. A cyclical rock chord progression loops underneath a shouted refrain that feels like it should go on forever, but very stylishly clocks out at 3m 17s.
The most instantly engaging thing about ‘Vice’ is how listenable to the vocals are. The dynamic contrast displayed is staggering. One moment beautifully melodic, the next pelting you with throat-annihilating screams, all astride songs that are superbly structured and fearlessly performed.
At only 4 tracks you are left wanting much more, yet musically in itself, there is nothing out of place here, no unnecessary self-indulgent noodling or studio augmentation. It storms in, does what it set out to do, then flies out the window leaving a trail of awesome destruction in its wake.