by Alex Monzel
The Seoul based quartet, Used Cassettes, most recent release entitled Rock n Rills is the epitome of garage-rock. Comprised of a group of incredibly talented and geographically diverse musicians, Used Cassettes knows exactly what sound they’re going for and they completely nail it. The distorted guitars and tubed vocals, paired with driving drums and intricate riffs make for some truly “Down & Dirty Rock n Roll.”
Rock n Rills is certainly an impressive and interesting album, but it’s like a glass of wine: best when paired with something else. I’d suggest cooking or washing dishes (or perhaps something more manly if you’re into that sort of thing). While the instrumentals are consistently phenomenal, the vocals, or more appropriately the lyrics, are often hit or miss. Hit: “Wasted,” miss: “Ducati.”
“You sold my Ducati. You sold my Ducati. You, you sold my Ducati.” It may be because I’ve never owned a Ducati, but three lines seems a bit much for repeating a simple four word phrase.
But the beats keep driving, and this album shows no signs of slowing. It’s a rule for most albums, but it holds especially true for this one: don’t write an album off because you don’t like one song. The latter half of this record brings back the heat that drew you in with tracks like “Pat Walsh is Here,” and “Ghost Stories.”
If you’re wondering why some tracks might sound a bit familiar it’s because they’re rather reminiscent of some of their rock predecessors. I could swear my music player accidentally shuffled in some Cage The Elephant when “Pat Walsh is Here” came on. And, “Ghost Stories” sounds like it’s straight off of Radiohead’s OK Computer.
With impressive instrumentation, a solid sound, and some of the coolest album art I’ve seen in awhile, Rock n Rills is a good record. I wish I could use some other synonym to describe it such as “great” or “fantastic,” but I can’t. And the worst part is I can’t tell you exactly why either. It may seem like a cop-out, but there is something subtly missing from this record, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it needs a little more contrast, or it’s because some songs feel like fluff. Or maybe I’m just salty all my favorite tracks (“Wasted” and “Pat Walsh is Here”) are also the shortest; I can’t say for certain. But are any of these a reason to pass this record up? Hell no.