This is an unfortunate situation. Here we have Dude Magnets, a band that plays earnest, lo-fi indie rock, releasing a tape on Pizza Tomb Records, one of the most promising up-and-coming labels in Athens at the moment. This should be a recipe for success—or at least make for something inoffensive and/or enjoyable. But though the split personality concept is an interesting one, the music on Queen/Classic is not up to par with the band’s aspirations.
Scott Sapp’s guitar playing sounds pretty good, especially when covered up by a healthy layer of fuzz. However, decent riffs come at the expense of tolerable vocals. Sapp’s delivery is flat and emotionless. Songs like “Sad Clown” and “Classic” pair his vocals with vague, uninteresting lyrics that seem cut and pasted from an old LiveJournal page.
There are bright spots—mostly on Queen. Ernie LoBue’s percussion and William Cantrell’s bass playing are both charmingly sloppy on instrumental “Mahomet.” “Eating and Sleeping” is an impressive five-minute example of contained chaos. “Dude Magnets” and “Goddess Complex” could have come out of a noisier variant of the San Diego pop-punk scene.
Still, if they want to keep up, Dude Magnets need to reformat. If not, they risk being pushed out by a wave of young, talented people—including many of their labelmates—already accomplishing bigger and better things. 3 out of 5 (Queen); 2 out of 5 (Classic).