Vegas bands bring energy, funk


Some Dragons, some funk, some sore throats: Time for another roundup of Vegas music releases.

THIS ROMANTIC TRAGEDY, "Reborn" (thisromantic tragedy.com): The CD cover is telling: Amid a bombed out landscape, with fire-scorched buildings toppled against one another like doomsday dominoes, stands a lone tree, itself nearly dead, save for a few leaves, the only signs of life -- and color -- to be seen. It's a fitting visual metaphor for TRT's bombastic screamo: The band brightens the requisite genre tropes -- muscular, flexed-biceps riffing, bone abrading breakdowns, raw larynxes -- with huge, trance-style synth fills, a pulsating digital throb and radio-ready hooks.

As such, "Reborn" is an airtight blend of melody and menace.

"These are the boundaries we were never meant to break," they growl on the title track.

Consider 'em broken.

RHYME N RHYTHM, "Live With No Monitors" (rnr702.com): In hip-hop, live albums are almost as anomalous as tight fitting chinos. But Vegas' Rhyme N Rhythms is one of the most formidable acts currently immolating local venues, and so it's fitting that they've chosen that context to document their latest release.

Recorded both in the studio and at the Black Door, the disc captures the band's distinct stage presence: They're high energy, but firmly in the pocket in a rhythmic sense with a deep, near-subterranean groove with their core unit (four MCs, a bassist, drummer and keyboardist) frequently supplemented with guitar and a punchy horn section.

So, is "Monitors" as good as being there?

Not quite.

But spinning this one at home, at least you'll save money on drinks.

IMAGINE DRAGONS, "It's Time" EP (imaginedragons music.com): On their Facebook page, Imagine Dragons cite "smiling people" among their band interests, not that they need to explicitly state as much, as their latest EP encapsulates the sentiment in exclamatory fashion via perpetually ringing guitars, swelling synth and arms-in-the-air choruses.

Frontman Dan Reynolds' voice yo-yos from a husky whisper to near falsetto heights as he offers the lyrical equivalent of a reassuring shoulder rub. ("Don't look back"; "Your time will come if you wait for it"; "It's not as hard as it seems.")

The craftsmanship here is impeccable, hard to believe this band is still unsigned, even if they wear their influences on their sleeves -- U2, The Killers -- right next to their hearts.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.

 

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