Right from the off Chemical Addiction have you hook, line and sinker with the grooviest of hooks and the coolest of vibes, which teleport you straight back to that seismic Seattle grunge scene which dominated the early nineties and beyond. Laced in cool vibrations and dripping in rhapsodic pleasures, this is music that will have your head swivelling and pirouetting to every beat and every chugging riff.
Backburner is the latest EP from the Kilkenny alternative rockers, and what we have here is 4 monster tracks to get your teeth into, 4 tracks to help turn back time and reminisce of a generation that left its print on music as a whole. This is not to say that Chemical Addiction are some kind of tribute act to the likes of Soundgarden or Alice In Chains, far from it! They may harbour the heart and soul of that time, but the lads have brought a freshness and a sharpened edge with them for Backburner. The blueprint may have a Seattle stamp of approval on it, but what Chemical Addiction have done is elevate and accentuate their willingness to cross genres and bring in many nuances from other rock and metal styles.
The opener, Auto Nerve, to be fair is straight up grunge dynamite, with swirling guitars riffs and lightly rasped vocals courtesy of Dan Pearson and Benjamin Keating. The texture and vocal tone is bang on the money, and there’s no denying Dan’s influences here. Add to that, Benjamin’s backing vocals along with hook after hook, and a truly memorable melody-strewn solo towards the end of the track, Auto Nerve becomes both dynamic and hugely anthemic.
California Hillbilly Suicide plays off those nuances I mentioned earlier with some subtle thrash inspired riffs opening the track, and some clever chorus chanting to reaffirm that willingness to experiment. Small details, but bring them all together and you’re onto a winner. With sirens wailing and a sick bass line nailing everything down thanks to Moe Curtin, there’s plenty here to keep you entertained.
Infused in funk and bolted to the floor by the drumming of Daire Nolan, both Timewaster and Amsterdamaged weigh heavy in chunky guitars and powerful percussions. Even with that "Even Flow" air hanging over it, Timewaster still manages to incorporate a heftier edge to it and harnesses a more aggressive vibe than Pearl Jam would have. Amsterdamaged closes the EP with more of the goodness we have consumed by the previous tracks. With a chorus that will have audiences chanting and flying their fists into the Smokey air, this only whets the appetite for seeing Chemical Addiction in a live environment.
There are many grunge tribute bands out there plying their trade, and good luck to them all, but if you want to savour the grunge experience properly, why not absorb it through original music and from a band that are playing at a very high level. Backburner is a slab of alternative rock that will appeal to many tastes. It has a bite to it and an energy emanating from it, that’s downright infectious.