Most original thoughts or form of any expression are derived from some source. Whether it be a creative output or a title of a work, thought comes from somewhere. Chicago-based indie troupe Harvey Dentures seems to have a kinship to DC comic characters. Their name is a wonderful reference to the character Harvey Dent (Two Face) of the Batman world with the added benefit of a quiet-loud-quiet song structure.
The group contains members Mike “Puffington” Maynard, Keifer Douglas, Anthony Santoro, and Max Petot, each members of bands floating around the Chicago DIY ether (Shiloh, Nomar, and Old Joy). Harvey Dentures is self-proclaimed Bummer Rock, combating the typical brand of slacker like so many other 90s and 90s-revival acts claim to be. They tip their hat to the likes of Built To Spill, Sebadoh, Weezer, and Archers of Loaf, approaching each song the same as the prior: four piece rock group, heavy hitting leads, borderline crying vocal delivery. It at times cusps the edge of emo, a bold statement to make in this context. The 1990s treated our ears right, and Harvey Dentures is here to instill those same feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
The opener to The Stix is how most opening songs should be–starts on a dime and gets to the hook quick. The cacophonous noisy start to then drop out for the opening vocal line is a page ripped directly from the Nirvana handbook. Maynard establishes a mood that is carried out till the end of the EP. The band collectively expresses anger and sadness, but surrounds them in an absurd beauty. The line “This is war, this is me, I am King, the only thing, in this world” gives off the feel of our day and age. Musicians–and most youth of today–are very self-centered and righteous. Maynard shows an awareness of that stupidity, and warns against being a sheep in the herd. Songwriters and creatives can take a lesson from this track.
On the Harvey Dentures bandcamp page, this is the song they choose to be heard first, and for good reason. The progression starts off with a very “Dinosaur Jr.” power, then jumps right into the feeling of Yuck’s hit “Get Away”. On purpose or not, it caught my ear. Harvey Dentures time and time again realizes that the chorus is what matters, and doesn’t take any time to reach them in their song formula. At the end of the day, people want something to sing along to, and “Why don’t you hold me on the weekend” is an anthem to so many. Being a tad bit too ‘on the head’ per say, but the lyrical message is signed, sealed, and delivered to your sad boy slacker heart (of lack their of). Maynard and the rest of the group are truly worth your time if either Matador Records or Up Records made an impression on you in high school.