In the tradition of great, grunge-tinged, guitar-driven rock comes Return for Refund, preaching the gospel of that timeless, Southern-fried anthemic noise that’s almost as American as apple pie and baseball. But, hold on to your ears, people; these masquerading musicians are Canadian, and their epically crunchy sound is compliments of “riff crafter and wordsmith” (read: front man) Drew Clementino. “It was always about developing my own sound and playing in a band. That’s how I learned. I made a very conscious effort when I was learning not to focus on learning other peoples’ music” says Clementino.
True. Even though Return for Refund’s music hearkens back to bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana, and yeah, even a touch of Lynyrd Skynyrd (in a good way), the band’s sound is all their own. Rounded out by axman Sasha Molotkow and Karlis Hawkins on drums, RFR’s self-titled EP is a raucous rock ride, with a surprising amount of delicate detail in the rhythm and picking. Opener “The Fields” is a feast for the ears, even if you’re not focused on the vocals. In fact, don’t. Listen instead to Molotkow’s expertise on lead. His skill is a common thread throughout the half-dozen tracks, along with Hawkins’ frenetic drumming (“TV Light” and “Yolo”).
Of course, Clementino is no slouch either as he interprets the music in a way that transports the listener back to the days of ripped jeans and flannel shirts. But make no mistake, Return for Refund is breathing new life into old grunge. Actually, it may be filling in the gaps where life never was. Either way, it’s a vital record, and one that whets the appetite for what comes next.