Being a knockoff band isn't such a bad thing if you meet two requirements: (1) You can play your instruments, and (2) you're imitating good stuff. The boys of Jupiter's Boxelder measure up on both counts, which makes their Deep Water Influence EP a fun if unoriginal ride. Fortunately, their reference points lie in the heyday of soulful hard rock: Think back to Mother's Milk-era Chili Peppers and Give a Monkey a Brain...-style Fishbone, add a Sublime skank, and you've pretty much nailed the Boxelder sound. Funky and punky, with screaming guitars and a deep, intuitive rhythm section, this album includes as much solid groove as street-level wisdom. Bryce Allyn's voice is stunning in its versatility, a Bradley Lowel/Anthony Keidis amalgam that barks, bellows, or soars, depending on the needs of the song. Opener "Finding a Way" is ridiculously catchy, a slamming ska rundown that, like this four-song EP, is all too brief. Slightly Stoopid's recent capacity shows at the Culture Room proved there's a willing audience for Sublime castaways; Boxelder's continued presence on the local scene should keep that crowd satisfied on a regular basis.
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