What does it sound like when a collegiate swimmer on the path to becoming an Olympian decides he’d rather play rock and roll? In short: pretty damn good.
BattleMe frontman Matt Drenik was attending the University of Florida on a full-ride scholarship as a swimmer before choosing to climb out of the pool and pursue his real dream of making music. Drenik started penning songs as BattleMe in 2009 and hasn’t slowed down since. The first BattleMe record was released in early 2012 to very positive reviews, allowing Drenik to share the stage with the likes of Walk the Moon and Neon Trees.
On October 8th, he released his latest offering, a four song EP titled Weight on the Brain, which features songs from an upcoming full-length, due out January 2014. Weight kicks off strong with the hypnotizing “Just Weight,” a song that feels like raw rock and roll, yet sounds beautifully melodic and textured, with vocals in the vein of Silversun Pickups that match the music perfectly. The second song, “I Know,” begins with a cool snare roll before opening up into a full-on rocking intro. As well as the drums, the guitar work on “I Know” especially stands out, from a nice hook riff to a screaming solo on the bridge.
The record slows from its energetic pace at the third track, “Cobweb Portrait,” breaking down into an exclusively piano-driven verse, giving Drenik’s vocals a chance to really shine, highlighted by unique and relentlessly catchy melodies.
The concise EP is punctuated with a driving bass line and drum groove, the centerpiece of the final track “Shotgun Song.” The subtle addition of a shaker on the verses is a nice touch, making it nearly impossible not to nod your head or tap your foot.
It’s unclear what Drenik is referring to when he sings “I know, I know” on the EP’s second track but one thing is for sure; he definitely knows how to write a great song.
Weight on the Brain
El Camino Media
Review by Evan Holley
Check out “Just Weight”