Saboteur - Saboteur (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Saboteur (2005)


From their humble beginnings as a two-piece side project featuring members of Red Animal War and Slowride, Texas' Saboteur has come along way in the past three years. Adding Rob Marchant on bass to round out the trio of Red Animal War's Justin Wilson and Slowride's Steve Visneau, the band finally had what it needed to really become something.

The band's self-titled EP showcases seven tracks of mid-tempo, melodic punk rock. Each track is extremely well crafted, and almost instantly memorable, be it for the socially aware lyrical content or just the overall feel of the track. The simple rhythms are full of terrific harmony, and Wilson's voice couldn't be more perfectly suited for it.

The vocals, for being as upbeat as they are, cast a pretty dark and brooding overtone on top of the crunchy riffs, not far away from what you'd be liable to find on a Red Animal War record. It works quite well for this brand of punk rock, adding a definite extra bit of character that you may not otherwise find. Even if nothing particularly compelling is going on with the rest of the band, Wilson will make the listener gravitate towards his strong vocal style. Scruffy in some parts, fierce in others, with each new track you're not really quite sure what you're going to be getting. This is true of the instrumentation as well, albeit in a lesser extent.

"Mission Keep You Here" is one of the best tracks on the entire album, and it begins right away. The slow churning chord repetition starts the song off until the singing begins, at which point the guitar work becomes a bit more understated, that is until around the song's halfway mark, where the vocals cut out to let the guitar work really shine, and shine it does. Becoming the centerpiece of the song, a brief but extremely impressive solo speeds the track up and really gives it something to put it a cut above the rest. Not to be outdone, "Mommy's Little Anarchist" brings in the heavy distortion and bouncy rhythms right away, while the singing takes a turn to sounding remarkably like underappreciated Vagrant act No Motiv, which is certainly not a bad thing. "Declaration on Dependence Drive" brings an even bouncier rhythm section, reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age single "No One Knows," only a bit lighter on the vocals, as some soulful guitar work contrasts well with the foot-tap inducing chord progressions.

Seven solid tracks on this EP that will undoubtedly keep you coming back for more. Red Animal War has a new record slated to drop in the coming months, but for those of you pining for something just a little different, this will tide you over.