On its debut EP, "Black Holes," Great Red makes music that slowly but surely pulls the listener into the sound. The band sounds completely contemporary, but it's also a throwback to 90's alt-rock. The guitars of Mark Bamann and frontman Zach Kochan can be alternately subtle and bombastic, including healthy doses of thrilling yet concise guitar solos. There is an ever-present earnestness and vulnerability here, due in large part to Kochan's honeyed vocal tone.
Bassist Steve Bass and drummer Andrew Tachine form a stable backbone. Bass is slightly lower in the mix than is ideal, though, resulting in a treble-heavy affair that can occasionally feel off-balance. That quibble notwithstanding, the album's production is brilliant. Matt Battle of the band Oh Manitou contributes his engineering expertise here, and his ability to make the music pop and sizzle with electricity adds depth and interest. With "Black Holes," Great Red brings straight-ahead, anthemic rock that's refreshing.
Great Red will play an EP release show Saturday, May 12, at The Yards (50-52 Public Market). 9 p.m. $7 suggested donation. Overhand Sam and Calicoco are also on the bill. The EP will be available online May 18.