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DC4 - Explode

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Monday, May 25, 2009 @ 10:54 AM


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Sometimes the enigma behind the concept of a supergroup not always living up to its expectations lies in its members having different approaches to their music that are incompatible with one another. For example, Damn Yankees produced 2 promising albums in the early 90's but could anyone honestly foresee a songwriting collaboration between Ted Nugent and Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung go any further than that even if grunge hadn't happened? For that matter, how many so-called grunge supergroups with the exception of Audioslave even made it past a debut album? (although to their credit Audioslave did yield 3 albums before they split in 2007 making them almost the sole exception to the rule here but that’s another topic for debate altogether)

In all honesty, the concept of a supergroup could still work if all three factors in play that determine its success – the media, the fan base and even the attitudes of the musicians in the band itself – decide to let nature take its course thus diverting any undue pressure it feels it has to put upon itself for it to succeed. Maybe that's why Los Angeles hard rockers DC4 and their debut album Explode sound like they could be that supergroup – by never acknowledging they are one in the first place despite showing many traits to the contrary.

Formed by brothers Jeff, Matt and Shawn Duncan (Armored Saint and Odin, respectively) and former Dio guitarist Rowan Robertson, DC4 as individuals can boast at least a good 25 years of playing experience and back up all of it on Explode from the bass-driven title track to the tuneful "Detroit Rock City" riff-inspired "Candy Caine" to the dark lyrical tones of "Long Hard Road To Lost" and the near-thrash assault of "Hate Parade" – all played with youthful flair and fire. In fact, DC4 champion their past by not only acknowledging what their ambition was in being in a band in the first place as well as reminding the listener why they enjoy what they do, like in "Rock 'N Roll Disease", but they also acknowledge much of the pitfalls of fame that they were easy prey for in terms of overindulgence without appearing condescending and preachy, like in "Candy Caine"; hell, even that topic is covered nicely in "God Complex" with Shawn sounding as if he's shouting the lyrics directly into Bono's face while caring less if the U2 frontman walked away afterwards with four copies of Explode to give as gifts to his bandmates. Even on the slow-tempo numbers like "This Is What You Wanted" (accompanied with string arrangements by Juliette Primrose) DC4 still remain in sixth gear and only slowing down when they feel the song calls for it.

With all of the loud hype surrounding other so-called supergroups in this day and age in preparing a debut album and/or tour compared with the relative secrecy behind DC4's ascension to newfound fame previously only thought by its members would solely be found in their initial bands it's no surprise that Explode sounds so energetic and lively after having been confined to a studio master tape for so long, its members’ ability in dealing with the pressure of delivering a solid hard rock album being channeled into its own performance on this disc and meeting its own expectations. And they didn’t need a ridiculous name like Chickenfoot to get noticed outside of their music either.

www.myspace.com/dc4duncan

****

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