Blonde Otter, comprised of Fordham students Michael Guariglia, FCRH ’16, Dan Wines, FCRH ’17, Brendan Glynn, FCRH ’17, Robert Falcone, FCRH ’17 and Matthew Falcone, FCRH ’18, have done one better than merely playing crowded shows at Rodrigue’s and Mugz. The band has played all over the city in the last year and finally released their first official EP, Hello, Bye Bye, last Friday. Self-described as “the perfect mix of power pop, 80s new wave and garage rock,” Blonde Otter puts a modern spin on a nostalgic sound and proves that they have the potential to hold their own outside of the college music scene.
The opening track, “Month Ago” is the most impressive on the EP. It begins simplistically, emphasizing the strength of Guariglia’s vocals. This feels like the most commercially ready of the band’s songs, without losing the natural grit of their garage rock style. Blonde Otter’s genre- and decade-spanning range of inspirations are evident, but they are not trying too hard to sound like any other artist. The record sounds exactly like what it is: five friends writing surprisingly catchy songs that deserve a high-ranking place on your new music radar.
As the EP continues, the band seems to fall into a confident rhythm. The energy of “Siren Song” is infectious, especially in the verse leading up to the chorus. It is the kind of song you want to dance to all night in a packed underground venue, or play as loud as possible on long drives with your windows rolled down. The title track is the shortest on the EP, but carries the same non-stop energy. Something about the urgent melody emulates some of the earliest work from The Strokes – think “The Modern Age” sung with more clarity, or a half-tempo “Hard to Explain.”
Hello, Bye Bye makes an assertive statement about who Blonde Otter is and hopes to be. The EP ends on a strong note with “Do I Know Anymore?” a more introspective track than the previous three.
For a group of students to be so assured and competent in their sound is extremely impressive. Blonde Otter might be writing “the next biggest hits or the most under-appreciated songs of all time,” but chances are you will remember the band’s name.