Where would music be without the average white band? They’re everywhere—your typical four-member band—two guys on guitar, one on bass, and one on drums. Bands that don’t follow this formula are rare, but rarer are the ones that make it work. When you’re using the same format that has brought everyone from the Beatles to Matchbox Twenty success, what are you suppose to distinguish yourself?
Collapsis tackles this challenge with their latest album, Dirty Wake. Although there’s not much to set them apart from all the other sensitive-male rock bands out there, they bring a certain honesty and vulnerability to their music that makes it a compelling listen. They’re nothing extraordinary, but they’re also surprisingly good.
A large part of the reason why Collapsis’ Dirty Wake works is thanks to lead singer Mike Garrigan’s vocals. His smoky voice possesses the right evocativeness to communicate the emotions of the band’s songs (all of which he wrote or co-wrote). It’s his voice that drives the album and allows it to rise far above mediocrity.
While firmly rooted in the pop-rock world, a few of Collapsis’ songs tread along the border into melodic country, from the gentle “Wonderland” to the album’s title track, “Dirty Wake.” Even though it’s not daring, it is different for a band of this nature and keeps the music interesting.
There are plenty of sensitively written songs on Dirty Wake, such as the sorrowful “October” (“This is my October / Shadow me accordingly”) and the powerful “Superhero” (“I think I know who you are / From the way you see right through me”). None of these songs would feel out of place on today’s modern rock radio stations. The one throwaway of this album is the lame “I.O.L. (I’m On-Line).” There has never been a good song written about the Internet, and this is no exception. Although not all the lines are horrible, lyrics like “Will you sign on tonight? / Your pictures are on my hard drive” are laughable. This song is an unfortunate detour in a set of good songs. Collapsis’ Dirty Wake proves to be more than it appeared to be. Despite the fact that they remain your typical band, they do it well, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Dirty Wake is impressive and enjoyable, and no one will ever fault a band for that.