LIKE THOSE OLD Reese's Peanut Butter Cups ads from
the 70s, Oakland, California's The Pattern combine two
great tastes that go great together-acid rock and garage
Mixing the paralyzing pachydermous punch of the MC5
and Blue Cheer with the low-rent Mick-Jagger
swagger of the Chocolate Watchband's Danny Phay,
The Pattern's new EP Immediately (Lookout
Records) petulantly busts out of the CD player looking
for liquor, drugs and sleazy women. Of course, like
all good records, the band didn't so much decide how
the record would sound, as much as they achieved it.
"There was no specific plan for' Immediately'," admits
front man Christopher Applegren, cheerfully "it
was just a happy accident. We tracked the first day,
went out and danced in a jock bar downtown, cut the
vocals, and mixed the next day."
Perhaps it's the dancing that keeps The Pattern so light
on its feet, because unlike so many other buzz bands,
its music succeeds where others fail simply because
it wears its clichés honestly and naturally.
Using the familiar Blues-plus-Motor-City-Rock-divided-by-a-heavy-dose-of-the-Creation
equation, The Pattern manage to draw on the ancient
spirits of rock, rather than merely appropriating its
fashions or name checking its stars. Afterall, Applegren
notes, the band's name is no accident.
"We're not trying to be specifically retro," reiterates
Applegren. "We're trying to make something for today
and everyday. All you can really do is try and present
what you love about rock n roll and hopefully reinvigorate
it in the process."
Like the Strokes and the White Stripes
before them, if The Pattern didn't have a plan, it certainly
had a buzz. On the strength of its first three EPs (Non-Stop/Gearhead;
Wet Circuit City/Alternative Tentacles; Feverish/GSL)
the band booked an 11-day tour of Ireland and the UK
with the Murder City Devils-highlighted by stops at
both the Reading and Leeds Festivals-only to be whisked
back to California to play two shows at the El Rey Theater
in L.A. with punk legends X.
Nevertheless, even as the whole world seems to be saying
"yes" to The Pattern, not everything about the Bay Area
quintet is unassailably awesome. For instance, while
the music is simple, direct and rocking, the lyrics
are on the stupid side of dumb. And though the riffs
rock and the backbeats bounce, there are other bands
in this genre that rock harder. Nevertheless, while
other bands may rock harder, it's questionable if you
can dance to many of them. And judging by the press-pack
testimony of KZSC DJ Amy Monahan, that's the The Pattern's
strong suit. "They put on a crazy live show and produce
catchy songs that make you wanna dance," testifies spinmeister
Of course, that's just fine by Applegren and Co, whose
tag line describes the band's sound as punk rock boogie,
"The real incentive for the band was to try to recreate
the histrionics of a big rock band, but with a party
atmosphere," illuminates Applegren. "When we play, we
try to put on a real show."
Allan Kemler for Crud Magazine© 2001