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Review: Graneros – Casey the Dog

Indie punk garage rockers Graneros, lean heavily on repetition in their latest EP Casey the Dog. But make no mistake, repetition, does NOT make this a one dimensional record. Rather, perhaps an homage to their diverse musical roots, the trio marry indie with everything from 70s classic rock to 2000s pop rock in what may be their best release since forming in 2016.

In a rebranding of sorts, bassist Chris Wolz and drummer Travis Tenney represent two thirds of Boston punk band Dead Cats Dead Rats (DCDR), which last released new content in 2016. After that DCDR release, Wolz and Tenney brought in Wolz’s brother Matt and launched Graneros, according to their Facebook page, under the general idea that it would marry Matt’s indie rock vocals and the punk rock instrumentals perfected under the DCRD banner. Three years later, and now with three Graneros releases behind them Casey the Dog says with resounding fervor that marriage is strong.

Indeed, this EP opts to race out of the gate with a driving opening song. Powered by a brilliant snare heavy drum pattern and a classic fuzzy rhythm guitar chord progression, “She Bathes” showcases the band’s punk roots but leaves room particularly towards its end for Matt’s rough but unmistakably indie vocals to cement as a central element to this record’s sound.

From there, the band begins a slow pivot towards the softer rock genres that dominates the middle portion of Casey the Dog. While Tenney still hammers out flamethower drum patterns, the Wolz brothers on guitar and bass simplify things with a few picked notes and sparse chord placement on track two – “Caroline”. As “She Bathes” was a hard rocking anthem, this track is reflective and softer, bleeding well into the similarly quiet intro to track four on the EP, “Mexico”.

There, Graneros congers faint images of bands like All American Rejects before quickly dashing those in favor of harder sounds better compared to those of the Menzingers or Against Me as “Mexico” builds into track four.

The hardest punk song on Casey the Dog, “Boomhower” employs staccato guitar playing and revives the driving drum beats that faded out earlier in the EP.

After next zooming through track five, “This Time”, Casey the Dog then comes to an intimate and instrumentally reflective conclusion with “Take a Seat”.

Pulling together many of the competing genres featured earlier on the EP, this track combines anthemic choruses with intimate and reflective indie rock verses. The staccato guitar from the record’s two hard punk songs are present and even dominate the mix for about a minute of the song’s run time. Around the two minute mark, however, suddenly that Against Me style folk punk pivots to a Led Zepplin-esque sound featuring somewhat cleaner guitars and higher pitched screamed vocals. That solid 70s mood seems to close out the record as it fades into silence.

However just as that silence drags on, Graneros tosses listeners one last hidden track that opts to end this most recent release not on a classic rock note, but on a bluesy garage rock one.

As a whole, Casey the Dog, its creators say, is a tribute to the loyal 13 year old family dog that often lays outside the barn where Graneros rehearses. But to the listener unaware or disinterested in that fact, it’s also an inventive, technically sound record that proves that the musicians behind Graneros have been around. They listen to good rock music, in all the shapes it takes. And they know how to make it.

~Dakota Antelman