Review: Knock Over City – it’s rad, dude.

I didn’t know what to expect when I turned on it’s rad, dude. by Knock Over City, but my first thought upon hearing it was, “What the hell, why haven’t I heard this before?” This five track EP features an impressive blend of post-grunge trash rock (though it is difficult to box it up in one genre) with catchy lyrics and even a little trombone and saxophone work, as a treat. There is nothing I appreciate more than a band that recognizes the power of horns to take a song from good to great. A real cherry on top of what is already a perfect dessert.  

The opening track, “Torchbear,” introduces you to the record with a slow and fuzzy yet ruthless bassline that is joined by a fairly tame but nevertheless groovy guitar riff (as well as those lovely horns we love to hear). It’s a jam song. This track is complemented well by the next, “Hutch Dano,” which is like a one-way ticket straight into the pit of your dreams. It’s one whole minute of sweet, heavy catharsis and purging your rage about social expectations. Track 3, “Smorn 3: Smorn in the City,” is about Jurassic Park, and track 4, “Downstroke City,” is about the self-destructive pompousness of the alt-right, so believe me when I say this band knows range. “Downstroke City” also goes hard, featuring another thundering bass intro that picks up the pace to make way for some really sick shredding. Listening to this song is like your brain is being bombarded with lightning bolts and cascading fireworks. It’s a trip, to say the least. I’ll also take this time here to give some love to Nunziantte DiBenedetto’s vocals. Booming and confident, Nunzio communicates just the right tone, not afraid to get gritty when he needs to or simulate the sound of the horns in acoustic sets on the band’s Instagram page. A smart man recognizes the importance of horns.

What I love about this band that I cannot stress enough is how well put together their sound is; there is a well orchestrated flow from each song to the next, put together into a cohesive set. The close attention to detail in the vocal harmonies, even down to the very meter of the lyrics, shows that everything to be heard in this release is vastly rewarding. What makes the explosive, messy sound work is the fact that, under the surface, it’s not really messy at all. It’s an impressive feat that makes this melodic hardcore-grunge-punk-rock band one to be remembered. The production is decent, but still has that DIY vibe, so listening to it feels personal. Though, I don’t doubt that the recordings don’t do this band justice, and you haven’t really heard them until you see them perform live. The album artwork, done by Adam Luca of Hellmouth Records, is nothing short of excellent, especially given the parallels between it and the cover of it’s bad dude. It’s real visual character development. 

Fans of Knock Over City’s previous work will not be disappointed by this release. Revisiting Settling from 2014, it’s undeniable how much this band has grown, starting with singer/guitarist Nunzio as an acoustic solo act and later adding drummer Joey Campbell and bassist Rick Surette to evolve to the sound they have today. It is a shame that Rick has left the band after this EP, but I am confident that Knock Over City will continue to release groundbreaking work. If I were to recommend this release to anyone (and I most certainly do), the best way to describe it would be to say, “it’s rad, dude.” So it’s named pretty accordingly. These tracks will leave you feeling energetic, angry, euphoric, and hungry for more. Everyone should do themselves a favor and listen to this band. 

—Morgan Gunning

Featured photo by Erin Campbell