Self Made by Sprockets
Congregating around my little speaker, it almost seems a damn shame to listen to Vegas’ Sprockets in this particular setting. For now, it will due for the band’s new record Self Made. Just four tracks, this quad squad of songs is the burst of energy this summer needs.
Originally based in Boise, Idaho, after a few lineup changes Sprockets is now settled in Sin City. Brodie Knight is on lead vocals and guitar and he’s joined by Dave Schwaller on bass and vocals, with Jesse Magana on lead guitar and vocals and Matty DeCarlo on the drumkit. On the band’s Facebook page, they list Deftones, Sevendust, Blink 182, Thrice and Rage Against as influences. The power of these influences comes through strong in the arrangements and projection – Self Made, as its name suggests, has the band Sprockets take shape and take flight with their own sound.
In the first track, (title track), the rumbling percussion is just the icing on the cake. The chorus “no matter how far we fall we are self-made,” affirms this thriving song. The production value is tight – this sounds like the band brought their A-game into the studio. They also converted their live or stage concert event into the studio version. Sprockets, like a freestyle skateboard competition, will the listener into this fantastical fusion of rock and punk. The bombastic guitars, a thrashing reverb mixed with bass guitar lines that have you jumping out of your seat.
The next track, “Graffiti” (Featuring Jesse Larson), has the everlasting line “in the stairwell, we made our farewell.” Knight’s voice is confident and a more sensitive than the previous song. What doesn’t relent is the robust music bed sound. DeCarlo’s drums are mesmerizing, charting the course that Travis Barker and Tré Cool previously forged. The tempo of this song has some hills and valleys, and through it all, it’s a great listen. I also loved the idea of associating a relationship with a room or setting – that recall moment of seeing a painting or in this case graffiti. Even though, by the sound of this song, it’s a sad memory, it’s still stuck in time.
In the standout track “Neon Alley”, the guys’ energy is unbeatable. I loved the storyline and how Knight professes “I will be outside all night, I will be your neon alley.” This siren, this beacon of hope and kind gesture is addressed next to a layer of sure-fire rock sounds. The guitar shapes are phenomenally fresh and centered around the boyish vocals. Knight’s sincerity and emotional reach shouldn’t be discounted by the rock ambush.
“Romantic As Hell” has a numbing drum arrangement. It’s like Lars Ulrich of Metallica spitting out bullets. Knight’s voice once again tumbles along like a reckless youth, yet the maturity in him, spews of life experience. I think pigeonholing this song (and this band) into just punk rock is a bit unfair. They have a different layer to them, an intriguing aspect that gives them a boosted energy that can’t be replicated.