Death and Memphis - The Time Between Dog & Wolf (Cover Artwork)

Death and Memphis

The Time Between Dog & Wolf (2023)

bypolar records

Chicago area punks Death & Memphis have been churning out their brand of rock for the better part of a decade. This band consists of many Chicago area scene veterans who collaborate together to produce heartfelt music that is hard to tie down to one genre. Personally, they exist between "orgcore" bands such as Hot Water Music and Gaslight Anthem and Midwest post punk such as Husker Du and Naked Raygun. Their new EP "The Time Between Dog and Wolf" is a natural progression of sounds heard on their 2019 full length "Exhausted."

"Not Fade Away" opens with an eerie buzz that leads into a pounding drumbeat to set the tone of the song. Right off the bat, lead vocalist/guitarist Paul Garcia goes for an upper register which showcases his range. This powerful song about going through hard times is a solid opener to this EP. The band's signature buzzsaw guitar sound is present throughout this track, letting you know the band is indeed rooted in the Midwest. "Your Own Worth" is a song to me that speaks about someone who gives in to others and doesn't realize their own value. Paul's vocal delivery stays steadier on this track that boasts both gruff and powerful backing vocals in the chorus. Guitarist Steev Custer plays a subtle, yet effective, guitar lead throughout the verses to help accentuate the power of the song. "Solidarity" is a standout track on the EP. As the title suggests, this powerful song tells of gathering to overcome adversity and opposition. The intro boasts a heavy buzzsaw guitar intro, familiar to fans of Chicago punk. I think many would relate to the vocal line of "We are fighting for our future while you look the other way." The steady and mid paced "The List" follows. This track features layered dual vocals in the verse that add to the effectiveness in its delivery. This song is not your typical verse-chorus-verse punk rock song. It is extremely unique in the placement of the chorus in-between the bridge and the outro of the song. This hits out of nowhere and was unexpected at first listen. The tide shifts a little with "Lessons Learned" that follows. This is an extremely emotional song about the struggle of having someone there for you who has left. Like many songs on this EP, the lyrics are subjective and open to interpretation. My takeaway was that you are not willing to learn from your own mistakes. The leadoff single "The Sea Pounds" closes out this EP. The band previously released a lyric video to promote the release of the EP. The opening guitar riff hits like a jackhammer. This track reminds me of the first time I heard PEGBOY when their "Three-Chord Monte" EP was released. The chorus boasts effective backing "Whoas" which have become crucial to the Chicago punk sound. This song boasts a solid message about not losing your focus in the face of obstacles. Musically, this number contains a solid and consistent tempo throughout.

Death & Memphis have showcased much growth since their debut full-length. As a listener, I appreciated most the risks the band takes in its songwriting. Each song structurally differs from the next which provides an adventure for the listener. This EP is highly recommended for fans of Midwest punk rock, melodic punk, post punk and beyond. I look forward to the continuation of their musical journey.