Under Groove: Fragile Times EPBy Darryl Kirk
NZ Musician – Feb 2016
Auckland’s Under Groove mine a vein of hard rock that comes across as a pleasing hybrid of The Angels and Metallica, with hints of Thin Lizzy. The powerful and controlled drumming of Brian Collins locks into the consolidated rhythm guitar and bass partnership of Gary Van Rensburg and Stefan Davern. Murray Soffe supplies withering leads and melodic flourishes. The self-production is high quality, arrangements thoughtful and musicianship excellent, aided no doubt by the engineering of Jordan Stone and Ben Malone at Roundhead. Something New is a prime example of the precision and power Under Groove embody. The keening introduction is a melodic tour de force, giving way to a verse built on a palm muted chug everyone can enjoy. This flowers into a chorus underpinned by mirrored but complementary guitar parts, one ringing power chords aligning with the looping riff, the other taking the high notes and expanding the dimensions of the song well beyond mere riffage. So far so good right? Well, hang on a minute. The last of the four tracks, Wayward Sons, is only the best rock song I’ve caught in the last 12 months. The opening riff is something Eddie Van Halen might have made his next million with. Lyrically it’s the tale of getting back from a dark and grim world to hearth and home. When the chorus kicks in it’s like Big Country and The Cult having an anthemic contest, only to be beaten out by Under Groove. The lead break and middle eight are so well conceived you'll wish you'd written them yourself.