Middle Class Rut
Pick Up Your Head
Bright Antenna

"Aunt Betty" by Middle Class Rut

For those bored with the cutesy indie schtick or ambient-prog redux du jour and on the lookout for a band making original, in-your-face tunes with transposing energy, Middle Class Rut might satiate. Nonsensically and metaphorically speaking, if bands were people and someone with the rock character and musicianship of Deftones or Rage Against the Machine made an honest woman out of Jane’s Addiction and her groove, the hypothetical sounds they’d make together are on this album.

MC Rut borrows a little here and there, yet they aren’t afraid to go off on brave, experimental tangents filled with guitarist/vocalist Zack Lopez’s ghostly background arpeggios, screaming delay jolts, and Morello-esque alien transmissions via his highly depended-on Whammy pedal—all shot down to earth by drummer/vocalist Sean Stockham’s veritable rhythm machine gun. It makes one wonder: How are two dudes doing all of this? They’ve captured a whopping live energy, and yet every percussive clank is heard, and the haunting, guttural bass lines are as melodic and memorable as the intensity in the layered, reverb-bursting outro teetering on the edge of feedback in “Sing While You Slave.”

These guys show multifaceted skill as they pivot from balls-to-walls jams to seriously inspired softer harmonies, sometimes in the same song. For example, on “Police Man,” Lopez begins a guitar solo slow and sweet, with a Whammy-processed harmony, and then devolves into deliciously frenetic, octave-doubled mayhem. The carefully arranged stories vary in execution, tempo, and emotion, no matter if form follows function or vice versa. Perhaps the most captivating thing is how they never lose that thrashing, raw abandon that lasting bands have and is hard to quantify. Simply, this is a band with a signature vibe and sophisticated, killer tone.

What they’re doing is even more exciting now than it was on 2010’s No Name No Color. MC Rut’s got gusto and this sophomore effort solidifies them as one of the most exciting true-to-form alternative rock bands in recent memory—the kind that’ll hopefully make hipsters everywhere unbutton their ironic cardigans, remove hands from pockets, and get moving.

Must-hear tracks: “Weather Vein,” “Sing While You Slave”