CD Review of Reloaded by The Passive Aggressives
Recommended if you like
Mary’s Danish, Veruca Salt, Primus
Label
Dead Fish Records
The Passive Aggressives:
Reloaded

Reviewed by Greg M. Schwartz

T
hose who feel there aren’t enough women in rock who actually rock will want to take note of the Passive Aggressives, out of the San Francisco Bay Area. The quartet has a rocking, bass-heavy sound that is a refreshing throwback to the alt funk/rock/metal scene of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. While their sound recalls certain artists from that era, it’s hard to think of anyone on the modern music scene who compares with the Passive Aggressives.

Vocalist Keren Gaiser – who once served in the Israeli military – has some stellar pipes that sound great stretching over power trio grooves which provide a launching pad for her to belt it out, but don’t force her to scream. The name of the band perfectly captures her vocal style, and it’s an alluring one. Guitarist Jose Santiago has got chops and melody and really knows how to use a wah-wah pedal, while bassist Damian Lynch and drummer Tim Dayner have a tight chemistry.

As might be expected from a Bay Area band, the Passive Aggressives aren’t shy about putting their political thoughts into song. “Evil Clown Song” offers an interesting screed against the current administration and “the two-party system in general,” according to Gaiser. The song has lyrics such as “He’s your bad dream / The carnival is in town / To charge your nightmares / Keep that frown upside down” and clever commentary on the horse race of American politics with lines like “Have a balloon / It’s a treat from me to you / And a stuffed animal / The gifts will bring you through / Terror-go-round / Horses up and down / It’s never ending: the circus goes home with you.”

“Sweet Lisa” offers more of a danceable groove, but keeps things rocking in a fresh and funky way. Santiago delivers some catchy riffs that go beyond standard funk guitar to propel the song higher and higher, while Lynch delivers some Les Claypool-worthy low end.

The only shame about Reloaded is that it’s just an EP, with only five songs that leave the ear eager to hear more. The band sounds like they have plenty of creative juices flowing, so there should be a full-length release in 2008.

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