Album: Out From Underneath: Dig
Street Date: Mid 2005
From: Seattle, WA
Reviewed by: Kevin
Official site: outfromunderneath.com
Out From Underneath is the best band in the current Seattle music scene. However Dig is not their best effort. This is actually more like a combination of a short album and an EP put together. In 2001 the band released a self-titled album of 9 songs which was just over 32 minutes long. Now 4 years later they have re-released that same album, but added 4 acoustic tracks to the end and packaged it as this Dig CD.
1. Follow - A snare drum roll introduces you to Out From Underneath. Their signature sound is established with Mike's crunching guitars, which builds speed after each chorus.
2. Easychair - It starts out with some unique guitar effects but takes about 50 second into the song before you really feel where they were going with the song. By the middle of the track you can feel the groove of the 311 vibe. With this song you also get the origin of the band name, "We're coming out from underneath, you know we're gonna come up."
3. How Low - They keep the groove going here. Included in this a great crowd chant:
"I'm going down, (*Crowd:* but how low). You wont see me.
Going up, (*Crowd:* but how high). High as I can."
I thought it was brilliant because it really draws the listener into it as a participant.
4. Papers - It begins acapella prior to the rock kicking in. It's all about being broke, looking through the papers for a job. But the message turns into, "all I wanna do is see you move." Get up and dance.
5. Hey - The bass driven groove on this track is unlike anything else on the CD. The lyrics aren't too deep but it has a good message of coming together no matter what color or belief.
6. Sometimes - It's a fun song, keeps the same formula flowing. "Down on my luck but havin' a ball because I keep on drinkin' after they call last call." This song is done acoustically on their second album Transitions. So you are able to see the approach of the song from 2 different angles.
7. Late In The Day - I feel this is the gem of the album. Much more mellow, a vibe you might feel during a summer sunset. The music is kept tight, it might have been easy to slip back into a heavy rock song for the chorus, but they didn't and it was done right on every level. Before I bought the original album, this was the one that really made me take notice.
8. Later In The Day - "Acoustic jam, mic in my hand, Out From Underneath is the name of the band." This is a fun P.S. to the previous track. They take the hook from "Late In The Day" and wrap it around a little acoustic rap done with bongo drums and shakers.
9. Happy - Musically I think this is one of their strongest songs. I don't know enough about the band to know if more time went into this than some of the others but they really got full production value on this. Every section of the song feels well planned out and executed, even when it drops down to the bridge, it's feels right. I can see why they placed it at the end of their first album as a way to wrap up the final package.
10. WTP - Walkin' through a park. This is a track they've been doing at shows for quite a while and the video has been on their tv show for just as long, so this is one that we've wanted a studio version of for quite some time. With that much build up, I guess this was a bit of a let down. The first of the new acoustic tracks, it comes across as mostly a teaser. Lyrically it's quite well written, it gets to the moral of the story, "All I need is just a little happiness."
11. Speak To Me - I wish they had saved this for a full electric studio album. It comes across more like a rough demo and left me disappointed. In my opinion it was the weakest track on the album.
12. Down The Road - It would be easy to mistake this for a country blues song, it's got a southern vibe you might get from Kid Rock when he busts out the acoustics. The last verse felt a bit forced however, I don't know if the blame lies with timing or vocal delivery, it just felt too rough.
13. Happy (acoustic) - For "Happy" they revisited a track from the first album (and this album). This actually feels much more natural than some of the other new acoustic tracks. When you compare it to the original, you get to hear 2 completely different takes on the same material, and both work perfectly. It was a great choice to have on the album.
The first 9 tracks were a great debut for Out From Underneath. They trademarked their sound of crunching guitars with an impressive speed, mixed with a groove you expect from a band like 311. It's a mixture they've perfected. The album was produced by Chip Butters who filled in as the band's bass player when Nate left the band. Recently Chip went back to producing full time and they now have a full time bass player name Harold who played on the new acoustic tracks.
That first album was great on it's own, but as a rerelease, I feel like it's a step back when they need to continue forward. Their follow up album Transitions is a solid album that took that step forward. And as for the acoustics, I just hope the band will not leave them at this state.
To check out more from Out From Underneath I urge you to visit the official site and MySpace Music.