Asbury Park’s The Obvious have been at it for a while now. Guitarist / vocalist Angie Sugrim and guitarist Dan Astorri have made music together since the mid-90s. In 2005, that relationship led to the formation of The Obvious. By 2010, the band had settled on its current line-up, adding Mike Smith on bass and Rob Blake on drums. After more than a decade of dues-paying, The Obvious are set to release their first full-length, Duress, in 2014.
As with the band’s previous two EPs, The Bouncing Souls’ Pete Steinkopf engineered and produced Duress at Asbury Park’s Little Eden Studios. The album is a 23-minute burst of energy that draws on influences from 90s alternative rock and 70s / 80s post-punk.
The main riff of album opener “Mercy Burns” is reminiscent Sonic Youth’s major-label classic “Kool Thing,” but Sugrim’s scorched earth vocals are the polar opposite of Kim Gordon’s deadpan delivery.
“Hell Yea,” which sees Sugrim asking for a kiss then balling her hands into fists just a few words later, and “Last Lily,” which starts pretty and grows angry, work best for me here. They capture the essence of some of the best 90s work from bands like Sleater-Kinney and Hole (Say what you want about Courtney Love, but I will defend Live Through This to my dying breath). They also show that Sugrim is a vocalist capable of quite a bit more than a powerful scream. “K.O.? O.K.!” even features Sugrim doing a snarky, late 70s, PiL-style, post-punk delivery.
The rest of the band brings plenty of noise and crunch to each of the nine tracks, and Steinkopf allows both the band’s influences and individual personality to shine. With such a short running time, not a single one of the songs on Duress wears out its welcome.
Hard work and perseverance have paid off for The Obvious. The band recently signed to Altercation Records who will be releasing Duress on February 25th.