Anybody remember when DAUGHTRY was a kickass rock band? You know, before Chris Daughtry devoted himself to making nothing but Minivan-Driving-Mom-Rock that is “safe to play at the office”? Well, the boys in WAYLAND sure seem to, and their debut full-length album Rinse & Repeat (September 22, Mighty Loud/In Grooves) reminds me an awful lot of those first two DAUGHTRY records. And that is 100% a compliment because I used to be a very big fan. Listen, when rock music is done right, minus the pandering and cliches, I’m always willing to give it a shot. And I think that WAYLAND is a band that’s worthy of your attention.
The first thing I noticed were the hooks. They’re big as life, and catchy as hell. Songs like “Revival”, “Come Back to Me”, and opener “Ghost” are just the type that you’d want to hear on your drive home after a long, hard day at work. You know, the ones you’re tapping the steering wheel to, providing a welcome distraction from the gridlock you’re stuck in on whatever major highway your commute lands you on. Single “Through Fire” is an obvious choice because it’s got thick guitars and there’s a little sexy groove going on that the boys and girls will dig.
One of my two favorites after several listens though, is “All Rise.” The chorus soars like an eagle, and it’s one that I found myself repeating often. Vocalist Mitch Arnold has a very impressive range, and it is on full display here. “Revival” has a dirty vibe throughout, and at times reminded me of some of the one-hit wonder bands that were all over the airwaves from 1996-98, which isn’t a bad thing by any means. The band slows things down for obligatory ballad “All We Had” and while it’s not bad, I prefer when these guys plug in and rock, but that’s just me. I’m sure the female demographic will fly to it like moths to a flame.
The minute I saw the title of “Shopping For a Savior” I had to find out what this was all about. Turns out, it’s one of the record’s best, ballsiest, and most raucous tunes, making this another winner for me from jump. Phillip Vilenski (guitars), Dean Pizzazz (bass), and Nigel Dupree (drums) sound like they’re just burning up their instruments, while Arnold delivers the sermon in a rock and roll church. To that I say, “AMEN!” “Back to Life” is a little darker than the rest, with a rather serpentine groove, but still it manages to be hook-laden.
Acoustic track “Follow” is simply a gorgeous piece of music. I can see myself on a road trip, getting to this one, and hitting that REPEAT button several times before moving along. “The Brave Don’t Run” is an asskicker from the door and probably goes over great live, while official closer “Rabbit River Blues/From the Otherside” utilizes acoustic guitars once again, along with some understated percussion for the first four minutes before it goes full electric for the last two. I say official because there are two bonus tracks in “Welcome to My Head” and “On My Knees”. Make sure you get this version of the record, because you don’t wanna miss out on these two.
All told WAYLAND has struck gold with their debut. If FM and/or SiriusXM radio doesn’t jump all over these guys, then whoever is in charge of programming is fucked in the squash upstairs. Rinse & Repeat manages to avoid the cliches while delivering solid rock anthems that are tailor-made for arenas and summer festivals. Don’t be surprised if you see and hear a LOT more from these guys in the future.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Follow”, “Shopping For a Savior”, “All Rise”, “The Brave Don’t Run”, “Welcome to My Head”