Tow Ts EPRed Scare Industries
By Cole Faulkner
Watching the rise of Red City Radio over the past decade has been nothing short of an unexpected pleasure. The The Oklahoma quartet has been a steady reminder that gravelly spoken punk-rock is alive and well. While Nothington took a ten year break, Red City Radio was right there to fill the void. During that time the scene was introduced to Garrett Dale’s consistently impressive vocal performance. His reputation on stage is well founded, and his skillful songwriting makes each song every bit as enjoyable under headphones as they are amidst a humid, sweat soaked venue. Dale’s initial foray into solo territory echos this.
Dale’s three song solo debut, the Two Ts EP, may be brief, but it sure leaves an impact. Stripping down to a primarily acoustic disposition, Dale’s vocals once more take centre stage. Given the more subdued execution, Dale demonstrates increased restraint, but without compromising the expression needed to communicate his emotional plea. He still reaches all those trademark highs and lows, but with a heightened appreciation of the subtlety demanded of a more intimate setting.
Opener “2016 Was…” firmly sets EP’s tone as one of, “moving on.” “Here I go again, liquored up again, and singing Propagandhi until I lose oxygen,” laments Dale in an effort to transcend a depressive past while acknowledging the role of inward reflection. Trumpets blasts and saxophone bursts keenly accent various pathways through chorus and verse. From there, the piano and saxophone laced “House Full Of Dogs” assumes a direction of acceptance for the academic and personal choices that have led Dale to this destination. In a particularly lucid moment, Dale comments that “every time I look in the mirror I look more like my father, I’m going bald and cover it up and wonder why even bother.” The passage perfectly captures the permanence of one’s present situation, right down to genetic predisposition. Bookending the EP, “Down The Rabbit Hole” marks a lengthy lament that highlights the undeniable strength required in pressing through life’s many winding chapters. Two Ts may be a sullen experience, but it’s message is one of flickering hope.
Garrett Dale’s Two Ts EP embodies all the markings of a promising solo career. It’s intimate, personal, catchy, and strikingly well defined. Should Dale choose to pursue this path, there’s little doubt that he could end up as iconic as Hot Water Music frontman Chuck Ragan on the solo circuit.