New (Clear) Vessels – make a Pledge next Thursday
Dustin Mclaughlinâs only 27 but heâs already been to 42 states in the Union and he has his band to thank for it. The singer/guitarist of Woodbridge-based The Summer Pledge also has their van to thank for it. âMake sure your van is healthy and happy,â he quips.
Indeed, âHealth,â is his one-word answer for touring survival tips. The self-ascribed âgear-headâ (employed at Motor City Guitar, heâs talking about pedals and amps, not manifolds and carburetors) is refreshingly candid, not shying away from dropping taboo music-snob categorizations like âthrowback-Emoâ or âhardcore punkâ to describe this quartetâs stylistic roots. Heâs also quite frank about what youâre gonna need to survive on ambitious, self-booked tours out to California: âWet-wipesâŚand donât forget your Gold Bond. If youâre not careful, youâll wind up with a no-bake cookie living inside your ass for 3 days cuz you donât get to shower as much.â
Thatâs speaking from almost five years of touring/gigging experience. Along for the ride are guitarist Jeremy Damaske, drummer Rob Wilson and bassist Andrew Davis, who, with Mclaughlin, have âfinally pinpointed the sound weâre looking forâ on their new LP Vessels. âThe first and foremost thing we wanted was to take all our influences, a hybrid of all our weird brains and throw âem in a blender.â Â
Whereas before their songs were akin to an avalanche, heavily knotted-up into layers of dazzling synth-shimmers, skewing polyrhythmic experimentation and many magical/malleable pedals for guitar tones, echo effects and loops, theyâve âfocusedâ it down to a manageable four piece, a palatable, straight forward space-rock aesthetic.
âFocus,â then, is Mclaughlinâs one-word answer to sum up Vessels. Not as much âtap-dancingâ with pedals and letting his vocals come up to the audible surface. Cut back the synths and sequenced drums. âFocus on the song as a whole, instead of: how many weird sounds can we makeâŚâ