Album review: Idlewar – Impulse

Idlewar - Impulse
Idlewar – Impulse

Idlewar, a hard rocking trio from California, impressed me last year with their debut EP “Dig In“. Flash forward a year and the band is now releasing its debut album “Impulse” following a successful PledgeMusic crowd funding campaign. ‘Impulse” is an opus of 10 brand new tracks that’s similar in style to their debut while showing a more refined songwriting. It sounds like music musicians make as they grow more comfortable together.

Their songs navigate the line between rock and hard rock with ease, with their groovy riffs and passionate vocals from bassist/singer James Blake. The material recalls King’s X and Alice in Chains at times, with the latter influence being particularly prominent on the second half of the album. The first half is a little more straight up rocking, especially on the first single “Criminal”. It has a slinky guitar riff that twists and turns and leads us to a catchy chorus. Its upbeat feel contrasts with the overall brooding tone of the record, and I wish the band had one or two more songs like this on the album, for contrast. (“Innocent” comes close though) But they sure know how to write a catchy guitar riff.

The production by drummer Pete Pagonis is excellent, with a slight live feel that gives the music a kind of raw quality. The mix is crystal clear and you can hear what each musician is doing easily, especially on the more atmospheric tracks. What’s amazing is that they only needed two days to record the album, and yet it sounds as carefully constructed as if they’d spent way more time on it . Crank it up in the car and rock out to these guys.

“Impulse” is out now.




Jean-Frederic Vachon
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