Hailing from Cookstown in County Tyrone, DYAD are a rarity in the music scene, a 2 piece grunge outfit made up of 2 best friends Matthew Ryan and Ciaran Owens, formed late in 2017 after the all too regular band breakups. Their Debut release, 'bad habits' hit the world on April the 6th.
To be honest, I have been in 2 minds when writing this review. On the one hand, 'bad habits' has a lot to like about it, the chorus is catchy and the sound of 'big muff' guitars is not only nostalgic for me but when employed correctly, as it is in much of this track, it is a very effective tool. I have no doubt that live, this is something to behold, making seats and windows shake with, to quote spinal tap, amps turned up to 11.
There are 2 things to remember before we go any further, the essence of what grunge was/is, about the antiestablishmentarianism through the medium of music (sorry I have been waiting a long time to use that word in a review) and giving a voice to a genuine anger within the world. But also, specifically to DYAD the quick turn around from forming of the band to a debut release, is impressive in it's own right.
There are however, a couple of points on the production that, need to be addressed. As a 2 piece, there are always going to be issues relaying dynamic range on the recorded track if you stay true to the live setup. DYAD have done this. I would love to have heard a solid sub bass line take a lot of the heavy lifting in this song, which would have allowed the guitar to carry a bit less of the work load. A few more layers of guitar parts as well at key moments would have added some colour to the track. As it is there is, for most of the song, 1 large, heavily muffed guitar with no real contrast.
The vocals are delivered with aplomb throughout, but a middle section where the vocals rely heavily on delay and echo to me sounds a little out of place and breaks the overall mood of the song. The drums are solid, I believe they are tracked electronically, unless my ears deceived me, which furthered my impression that live, with a 22" bass drum would do the overall feel of the song a world of good. DYAD took the song in a different direction than I thought it would go on first listen, with the stomping bass drum giving way to a far more traditional grunge feel, in 1 or 2 bars my expectations jumped back 20 or so years, no bad thing, just very unexpected.
There are many familiar elements to this track, the intro has a certain sevendust style delay, with an almost Marilyn manson lyrical style protruding over the 1st verse. The chorus is easily likened to Nirvana and has a nostalgic quality and an instant familiarity.
All in all, especially in consideration of the debut nature of this release, it is a really solid effort. I feel as though there is the making of a brilliant song in there, and the production would have really benefitted from a few stern words in the studio to bring the song back in and focus it on one idea, whereas the end result here is definitely worth a listen if you like any of the bands I have likened them to above, I feel a bit more time together in the studio harnessing and focusing the concepts, with a few added bass lines and differently coloured guitars will reap huge rewards.
If you want to check out this song, click this link to open the Spotify player.