On the band's website, Saboteur somewhat inexplicably list
the White Stripes and Death From Above 1979 as their
main influences. I hear neither group; to my ears, the most audible
influence on this Texas trio is Queens of the Stone Age, with
thick staccato riffs and clean fluid leads dominating about half of
the self-titled debut EP's seven tracks. And while I'm no real QOTSA
fan, the blueprint serves Saboteur well, with generally impressive
Lead track "Ignited" fulfills its title's promise, with
a pummeling guitar and challengingly abstract lyrics involving "Undoctored
variant light speeds/And a pot of rotted canned goat." "The
Restless Rhyme" follows suit but ups the ante with a potent guitar
hook and clever, obliquely political lyrics, sung by guitarist Justin
Wilson and bassist Rob Marchant, who ably trade off on
dual vocals. Later on the EP "Declaration On Dependence Day"
offers the most direct Homme-age, to somewhat less effect but
without entirely sinking to mere tribute.
Elsewhere Saboteur reflects punk influences, particularly on the
Social Distortion update "Mommy's Little Anarchist,"
which takes a seemingly bad idea and makes good on it. The only real
misstep on the disc is the insipid "Mission Keep You Here,"
which trades the band's usual dark and provocative lyrics for a cheesy
pop-punk tale, complete with a melody shamelessly lifted straight
from the Blink-182 songbook. Even at its most maudlin and derivative,
though, Saboteur holds it together enough to deliver something better
than, say, a typical Starting Line or Fenix TX piece
On the basis of this debut, Saboteur aren't out to redefine music.
But within the confines of punk-inflected hard rock, they offer
songwriting more solid than most bands they're likely to open for.
Here's to hoping they climb their way up to headlining status.
2. The Restless Rhyme
3. Mission Keep You Here
4. Mommy's Little Anarchist
5. Le Saboteur Produit Son Couteau
6. Declaration on Dependence Drive
7. Poison Rum to Soak the Lungs
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