If ever there was a band that defined the term “rawk” it’d be Middle Class Rut. Also, have we mentioned how ecstatic we are that this duo is back and making new music together? Because we are. We’re ALSO glad that we supported their recent Kickstarter campaign and have a copy of their FANTASTIC third full-length, Gutters, to rant about.
And this thing sounds fucking HUGE! Those epic songs that made Pick Up Your Head and No Name No Color so unique are cranked to 11 here. Carrying on from Zack Lopez’s underrated solo opus and last year’s b-sides and otherwise return Strangler Days, Gutters is balls to the wall MCR to the max. Stronger songwriting, stronger songs, stronger everything.
The whole thing has a Honky Tonk/Americana vibe and still slays, remaining continually heavy throughout.Think “New Low” mixed with “Dead Eye” then put through a heavy metal blender. And what better example of that description than “No Sale” which starts Gutters and it’s like Middle Class Rut never left town with the beats, the grooves, and those fuzzed out riffs right at the forefront. Then there’s Lopez, whose voice at this point is as ingrained into the MCR sound as is Sean Stockham’s drumming, sounding refreshed and reinvigorated.
“If You Want It” starts with Lopez’s earnest vocal delivery before becoming a veritable riff extravaganza. “I’ll Be At Home” continues the extravagance as this ginormous country-tinged Americana by way of Folk ditty gets underway before a massive breakdown at the end that’s so over-the-top bizarro in the context of the rest of the track with those guitar squeals that are, at this point, synonymous with the MCR sound, that it just makes sense.
The title track is a rip roarin’ good time and posits Lopez as this great storyteller, as he has been all this time. And even when things slow down as they do in “3C” (Or in “Desert Road” which drops before), the message stays on point, the stories are still grand, and the tracks still have bite.
“Buffalo”, on the other hand, is just a straight banger with Stockham’s syncopated pummeling and Lopez’s subtle strumming creating an air of unease, like teetering on the edge of a cliffside road while driving an 18-wheeler kind of unease. And excitement. Depending on your temperament.
“Crosshairs” is the ultimate MCR track, showing off how fucking incredible Stockham is then settles into this phat groove before heading off into the sunset, like a gunslinger who just won an impossible battle. Kind of like MCR is. That underdog that you’re perpetually rooting for. Hopefully, this is the one that breaks on through because lord knows the tunes and musicianship are there.
Gutters is out soon. If you backed the campaign, you’re one of the lucky ones. For the rest of you sleepin’-at-the-wheel procrastinators out there you’re gonna have to wait. For all things Middle Class Rut, head here.
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