Label: Adult Fantasy Records
Produced by: Johnny Wulf
Whenever various music genre revival scenes happen or have happened, beyond whichever band nabs the spotlight and brings focus to it – generally by “updating” whatever they’re reviving – a lot of the bands that occur in the wake may do what they do exceedingly well, but it can become pure mimicry at some point. On the one hand, that has nostalgia appeal, sounding exactly like Band X you used to listen to on the prime format at the time, but on the other hand… why not just listen to Band X?
Restless play a fast and furious 70s-flavored rock damn well. All of the players are sharp, hitting the perfect mark of loose but tight musicianship that gives the recording a raw vibe that’s still undoubtedly played by professionals who know their bag; lead vocalists Mirce Popovic and Paden Reed (although I think Mirce takes the lead lead) nail the late-night show vibrato and the swagger, with lyrics that sing to rockin’ and lovin’ and whatnot; and Jonny Wulf’s recording gives everything a forefronted energy while maintaining a digital-age clarity that lets the roughness proudly shine through. It sounds great. Every song is an anthem, and only the occasional – and very, very brief – indie rock interplay may give away that this was made in 2018 in Olympia, WA.
However, though the absolute dedication to their sound, and the lack of need to pretend like they’re out for more than rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’ is admirable – each track hits a radio-play friendly 3-minute runtime, comprised of a breeze of catchiness and solos and not a ballad or any winky self-awareness in sight – this could also be said to be the album’s sole limitation: I’m not sure I could pick Restless out of a lineup of other 70s rock act, from now, or from then. Again – it’s a compliment, in a way, but it can also mean that if you own something of that nature that fills that need, you might not need to own Restless’s take on it. On the other hand, if you just can’t get enough, this 8-song release is an excellent, front-to-back solid addition to your library.