Reverse – The Jersey Switch (2002)

The Jersey Switch

Reverse are a force of nature that appreciates both the calm and the storm on The Jersey Switch. While other bands may let their fury go unchecked, Reverse unleash a controlled maelstrom that draws the listener in. Just check out “Permission”; plodding verses lead to a chorus of guitars that explode and drums that pound you into submission. Or witness the loud/quiet/loud of “Ugliest”. Or “Bright” and “Ridiculous,” with guitars that buzz and sing in supersaturated glory. Feedback and noise abound but never threaten to take over the songs. Ian Kennedy’s vocals are often soaring and distorted. Mike Piehl relentlessly smashes away behind the drum kit. The man has power and groove. There is no escape. Reverse owns you now.

Reverse proved they are one of the best bands around with The Jersey Switch. They proved it again (and topped themselves) on 2009’s Monkey Mind. And we haven’t even talked about what a monster live band they are…

Where to get it:

Reverse @ Moe’s Lounge 10.12.2012

Having Reverse play in a basement is a good way to see if the local building inspectors have been doing their job. I’m happy to report that Radio is still around with its structural integrity intact. That’s not to say that Ian Kennedy, Mike Piehl and Mike Quinn didn’t do their best to make the whole place come tumbling down in a cloud of frenetic guitar riffs, hypnotic harmonies and colossal grooves. Reverse put Moe’s Lounge to the test during Bands For Babs.

2370 @ Hi-N-Dry 5.5.2012

2370 performed at Hi-N-Dry as part of Somerville Open Studios this past weekend. Tucked down on the basement of Arts At The Armory, the trio had the kids dancing away to their live-and-looped groove.* Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t “kid’s music”. There’s nothing in what Ian Kennedy, Mike Piehl and Ed Guild are doing that is specifically geared toward children. In fact, the adults in the audience seemed to enjoy the set immensely. They just didn’t jump, shake, spin or twirl as much. It just goes to show that a great musical performance speaks to all ages.

* Seriously, there were little kids go crazy for this. My three-year-old was busting out moves I’ve never seen before.

Reverse @ Radio 2.10.2012

Reverse killed it at Radio. Reverse always kills it, no matter where they play. There were a couple of noteworthy moments I’d like to bring to your attention.

First off, I hope their new record doesn’t take as long to make as Monkey Mind did. I can’t wait that long for “Civilian” to come out. That song was electric on Friday night.

The other thing I wanted to point out was an amazing fill that Mike Piehl pulled off during “Helicopters”. It’s like the guy grew some extra limbs to pull it off. Even the usually unflappable Mike Quinn did a double take. It’s not often a drum fill elicits a cheer from the crowd, but this one certainly did. The audience is listening.

Reverse – Monkey Mind (2009)

Monkey Mind

You know that game where you put together your dream band from people in bands around town? Wait, what? You don’t play that game? Sure, you do. Anyway, sometimes when I play that game I end up with Reverse.

Monkey Mind is Exhibit A of what said dream band can do. Let’s start with Mr. Ian Kennedy. The man is one of the most creative guitar players in town. Have you ever heard a Telecaster make such sounds? It’s like he sprinkled it with magic riff dust. Then you’ve got Mike Piehl behind the drums. He’s a beast. Look no further than opening track, “Fluorescent”, for proof. Mike Quinn is about as solid as they come on bass. The kicker is that his backing vocals mesh perfectly with Ian’s croon-meets-scream vocals.

All of this would be for naught without some songs to back up the sonic fury. Thankfully, Reverse don’t let us down there, either. Monkey Mind is one solid record in the songwriting department. The aforementioned “Fluorescent” is in-your-face, melodic and has a heavy groove. I think I’ve mentioned in the past how much I love “Victoria”. “Slow” alternates achingly beautiful verses with a devastating chorus. “January” is a great example of how well Ian and Mike Quinn’s vocals work together. The title track and “Helicopters” are as frantic as “Good Cop Bad Cop” is deliberate. Every song has hooks to spare.

Monkey Mind came out some seven years after Reverse’s debut, The Jersey Switch. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait that long for their next record.*

Full Disclosue: The lovely and talented Nicole Anguish of Daykamp Creative did the artwork for this record.** That doesn’t make this record any less of a monster. Just letting you know.

Where to get it:

* Seriously, guys, don’t make us wait that long again.

** I think the artwork was done some 4 years before the record came out.*