If there ever was a formula behind the iconic music of the 90s, many would say it would be “Guys with instruments & vocals” + “Guttural feelings” + “Garage.” While rock is not as dominant on today’s airwaves, some artists such as Rochester, NY’s Periodic Table of Elephants keep this classic formula alive and well.
With Jason Pariseau on vocals and guitar and Sean McGinnis on drums, the Periodic Table of Elephants (PToE for short) puts together a rough guttural punch-your-boss-in-the-face sound sure to cause a riot at a pub or dive bar. As of a few months ago, PToE released their first EP titled Henry.
While PToE sights influences such as Green Day, Biffy Clyro and Blink 182, the vocals on this EP remind me of Smashing Pumpkins and instrumentals remind me of Canadian rock duo Death From Above 1979. What I mean by this is that Jason Pariseau chooses a guitar tone with a lot of bass in it to compensate for lack of a bass player, while Death From Above 1979 utilizes a bass guitar with various distortion pedals which yields a similar sound in lieu of a guitarist. Overall the production on the four-song EP was delightfully under-produced. Too often do you see up-and-coming bands using excessive production to polish their albums to the point where it no longer sounds organic. While this may boil down to preference, many purists prefer when drums hits aren’t 75 percent sound replaced.
In terms of the songs themselves on the Henry EP, the lyrics while straightforward, do the job in terms of connecting with the listener’s gut. The track “Better Off Dead” is the mosher’s anthem when played at a local show. The lyrics literally capture the intent of rage in the song with a lyrical pattern of coming back to a statement of physical action, each time increasing in violence. For example, things escalate from “I’m gonna punch you in the face” to “I’m gonna punch you in the throat” to “I’m gonna punch you in the dick”…ouch… Not the most poetic lyrics but the song was meant make an audience go wild. Out of the four songs on the EP, three of them are in your face and are very grungy while “Pile of Bones” is the one that breaks up that sound with something a bit softer and lyrically deeper. This is the track on the EP where PToE puts it all together in my opinion. It seems like Jason and Sean channeled their inner Foo Fighters on this track.
The Henry EP is a good start for Period Table of Elephants. As with any band’s first EP, this is the band trying to establish their identity and sound. The rough-around-the-edges feel will appeal to angsty millennials and Gen Xers looking for something that relates to their high school and college days. On the same token, this particular sound won’t appeal to those looking for mainstream appeal. With that being said, this EP is a tribute to the spirit of 90s alt rock…that RATM mantra of “F*ck you I won’t do what you tell me.”
Key Tracks: Pile of Bones, Better Off Dead