The Racquet’s eponymous EP sounds like the early Irish punk rock outfit Stiff Little Fingers without the angsty politics. What you’re left with, then, is reggae-inspired riffs and earnest vocals, but not necessarily gripping songs. That said, the six-song collection is a pretty little package of glittery melodies, solid hooks, bouncy rhythms and yearning “whoa-oh-ohs.”
“Lights” feels like a B-side rock ballad with a lost-at-sea heartache, and sounds something akin to The Police meets The Cure. “Nothing to It”—certainly the best track on the album—revels in the kind of fist-raising, eye-closing melodramatic chorus any 1980s band from Aha to Depeche Mode covets, even without employing a synth. Derivative, yes. Not a bad debut, though.
The local trio—all brothers—exhibits just enough charm to make their repetitive, sometimes clumsy riffs feel less annoying and more on the homey, comfortable side. Nick Laslovich’s smooth vocals are easy on the ears, even if he lingers a bit overzealously on each note.
If this group ratchets up the lyrical bravery, weaves in a little more instrumental fluidity and harnesses a bit more unpredictability they won’t need politics like SLF does—they’ll stand out as a fresh band with a retro edge.
The Racquet plays the Badlander Friday, May 22, at 9 PM, with Secret Powers and The CropDusters. $5.