The Fest is a pretty cool event. The first time or two I went, I went to see the headliners on the big stages, packing a day of well known (by punk standards) into one action-packed 12-hour period. Over time, I’ve come to seek out the newer bands on the smaller stages. The atmosphere is more my vibe, but it’s also because that’s where I find new discoveries like City Mouse—playing night one of this year’s Pre-Fest.
The band plays punk ’n’ roll, using classic rock power with flowing melodies among the rollicking guitar and forward-pounding rhythms. It’s potent and punchy, full of attitude, swagger and memorable hooks from the start. “A New Dawn” is really the standout track, perhaps because it sets the tone for the next 12 songs and maybe just because those “tweedle-dee” lyrics flow so effortlessly from Miski Dee Rodriguez’s mouth.
The band really uses from two core, overlapping elements. Rodriguez’s vocals cover a wide range of real singing, hitting new octaves and flowing effortlessly with an R&B smoothness over a classic no-filler rock backdrop. The rock ’n’ roll is that second core, most evident in “Journal” with its shredding finish and big riffage boosting the bridges between melodic choruses.
“Journal” has some of the most memorable lyrics, using a storytelling structure as Rodriguez reads an ex’s journal. It’s a bit more repetitive than some other tracks, which almost causes it to lose some luster before the riffage kicks it back up a notch. The big standouts are “A New Dawn,” “Terminal Disease,” and “Bad Weather,” but I could easily pick more. Really, each song’s punch comes from how Rodriguez belts such strong melodies no matter what the rhythm is doing. Get Right is a serious banger all the way through.
At times sensual, other times bitter, this is essentially a break-up record that empowers instead of wallowing. “I am strong, I am proud,” Rodriguez sings in “Exorcise,” a perfect summary of the overall tone. This is a record for picking up the pieces, ceremonially burning the ex’s journal, and doing something for yourself.
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