Dead Ringer - Demo (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Dead Ringer

Demo (2010)


Dead Ringer are a band from Bergen County, N.J. (that's northeast New Jersey, right on the doorstep of New York City) that openly admits to missing the '90s. And when they say that, they're referring not to overwrought, flannel-laden grunge, boy bands or even the third wave of ska, but to the days of fast, catchy, melodic skatepunk. Y'know, back when labels still routinely released compilations on CD and had mailorder catalogs. Those days.

All of that wistful reminiscing shines brightly on the band's demo, a collection that, despite its brevity, ought to rocket towards the top of several "Best of 2010" lists. In just three songs, Dead Ringer reminds us all that the sound many of us grew out of a long time ago--some refer to it as the "EpiFat" sound--may still have some breathing room within the scope of our scene.

Vocally, both members of the band chip in, but guitarist Kristia Moya handles the bulk of the singing and does so quite well; her voice is assured, confident and melodic in all the right places, and though the lyrical content of "Coffee and the Music Industry" is a tad cheesy, her approach is just so damn earnest that it's easy to forgive--nevermind how incessantly catchy the song is. Bassist Carlos Rivero adds a few lines here and there, but is mostly relegated to background vocals. His voice is low and mostly deliberate à la Leumria's Alex Kerns, and serves as a nice complement to Moya's work here. The double-time pounding of "Twenty One" showcases their chemistry, especially in its infectious chorus, and "Waiting List" is the most melodic of the three songs here, with a more mid-tempo approach showcasing Moya's vocal melodies more prominently. Rivero's vocal interjections are a little off here, but the rest of the song more than makes up for the awkwardness and really, is the only misstep to be found on what's a thoroughly impressive debut. Don't be shocked to see Dead Ringer signed very, very soon.