Sometimes you hear a record for the first time and just know that it’s going to carry with you for a long time. It may be the lyrics hitting a spot close to your heart, or perhaps a riff you can’t seem to shake no matter how many times you hear it. We all search for something different in the music we listen to, and sometimes we find a record that checks all the boxes. It’s an exciting feeling and one I’ve received from the latest release of Lowell’s own Knock Over City with “it’s bad, dude”.
For those not familiar, Knock Over City had its humble beginnings as the solo acoustic outlet of singer/guitarist Nunzio DiBenedetto. Over time they added drummer Joey Campbell, and finally bassist Ricky Surette, to assemble the line-up we know today. I think it’s important to acknowledge their past to truly appreciate this release and the strides they have made as a band. Their last release, “F*** Em’ All”, which is a split release with other local act, Bedtime Magic, was but only a taste of the greatness to be heard on “it’s bad dude”. It’s very similar, and highly recommended, to check out this release if you dig the full length.
The record itself contains 10 songs of melodic hardcore rock, with a grunge aesthetic, although that isn’t exactly fair since it doesn’t fall into a singular category music-wise. It’s a record that touches many bases and genres without straying too far from their roots. DiBenedetto’s vocals are delivered confidently with a cross between drunken preacher motif and 90’s emo. He has a very unique style that perfectly compliments the music. Surette’s bass sounds are thunderous and clear, while Campbell’s drums plow through the record with a purpose. The trio have definitely found their groove, and it shows through this record and live shows.
Personally, this feels like a record that I could tell people came out in 1996 and not have many question it. It’s a truly cohesive record filled with manic film clips littered throughout. The overall sound of the record has a very DIY feel to it and, while that can be a detriment to some, it absolutely works for Knock Over City on this release. While hard to categorize, “it’s bad, dude” feels like an accomplishment for the grunge genre, and one that I am sure if enough people give a chance, will end up on many end of year lists. – Troy Nicholson