I’ve written quite a bit about the 1990s revival that’s been happening. I’ve focused, though, on stuff in my own wheelhouse: that Indie / lo-fi / jangly strain of the 90s characterized by acts like Pavement, Built to Spill, and Lou Barlow or the noisy shoegaze of bands like My Bloody Valentine. The most enduring sound of 1990s music, though, is probably the heavy, melodic, more mainstream alt-rock.
Ropetree are a Toms River-based quartet who deliver well-produced and meticulously arranged hard, alternative rock. October 2013’s Bacon is a five-song set showcasing the diversity of the band’s sound, from the broodingly explosive “Dark Enough” to the melodic and hook-filled standout “Finally” to acoustic closer “Intoxicated Love.” Billy Harrison Mielnik laces his vocals with enough emotion and from the gut sincerity that Bacon avoids falling into the trap of sounding cold and distant that I think plagues a good deal of music in this genre.
The success of bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains back when I was just a twentysomething spawned an entire genre made up of lots of bands that tried to duplicate that success by playing around with the sounds without necessarily having the songs. Ropetree bring solid songs and some serious musical chops to the table to provide some much-needed freshness and local flavor to hard rock. And when that local flavor is bacon, can you really go wrong?
You can stream / buy Bacon over at Ropetree’s Bandcamp page.