Nepotism – “Black Sheep”

(Photo Credit: bandcamp)

Grade: A-

Key Track: “New American Drugs”

Nepotism are a very eclectic group from South Carolina, taking the best parts out of 90’s punk, modern rock, metal and more, to make a distinct alt-metal sound. The five track EP jumps all around, making sure each song is unique, nearly all of which are successful. What makes Nepotism immediately attractive is the catchy quality of their music. While a lot of louder guitar-based alternative bands aim for discord and noise, Nepotism look for harmonies and memorable rhythms within volume.

The album’s stand out is “New American Drugs,” the most punk-influenced of the five songs. The song has a speedy and relentless central guitar rhythm, that’s equal parts funky, catchy and angry. It wouldn’t sound out of place on your favorite 90’s throwback radio station, but that doesn’t mean it sounds old. Closer “Nobody Knows” is another great track, in the same vein. It’s ferocious and non-stop, but still comfortably accessible. The song is nuzzled in rock radio – fit for radio, but not fit for all of radio’s audience.

“In Disguise” might be the only weak song on the EP. It is the EP’s slow song (hesitate to call it a ‘ballad’) and although it’s a completely successful song in it’s own right, it sounds a little too close to 311’s “Amber,” in many ways. It also suffers from being placed too early on the EP. As the second song, it kills the momentum brought up from strong opener “Let It Out.” All that said, those criticisms are easy to ignore, and I found myself humming on the second listen.

Nepotism are like many alt-rock bands today, taking their inspirations from eclectic groups and genres. This EP shows hints of Incubus, Tool, the Stone Roses and many 90’s alt-rock bands. While those bands all created molds and became victims of their own product, bands like Nepotism are using the molds made by everyone from 311 to Green River and turning them on their heads. “Black Sheep” is five songs that are definitely recorded by the same band, but really don’t sound alike. And that makes for a pretty unique release.

The album can be streamed and downloaded here.

If you like this, try: Pissed Jeans’ “Honeys.” Not really all that related, but there were certain moments where I was reminded of the post-rock band’s excellent (and equally diverse) new LP.

-By Andrew McNally

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