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Death by Unga Bunga - Tell Me Why EP Review

Dan Burney

Death By Unga Bunga
Tell Me Why EP

Top tracks: Stare At the Sun, Don’t Go Looking for My Heart

Death By Unga Bunga makes fun music—no more, no less. Their humorous name and the nonsensical album art for their latest EP, Tell Me Why, indicate you probably shouldn’t take them too seriously. Tell Me Why EP marks their first strictly American release and it is essentially a sampler of their best songs from 2012 to the present.  If you’re looking for a thought-provoking, emotionally complex sound, look elsewhere. If you want to dance like it’s the mid-2000s, but are tired of listening to the same old Hives record over and over, listen up because Death By Unga Bunga have more where that came from. 

For a garage rock-revival band that seems like they’re late to the party, their sound is quite musically proficient with groovy bass lines and knarly lean-back-into-your-fans guitar solos. There’s also a psychedelic element that broadens their appeal to fans of Wavves and Temples. However, the tambourines, cheesy vocal harmonies, and Ringoesque drum fills make the EP sound more dated than nostalgic, almost to the point of copycatting. I’ll be damned if a couple songs on here don’t make you want to do that swimming dance from the 1960s—you know the one. Any track would feel right at home on a FIFA or Madden NFL soundtrack, and you probably wouldn’t even notice they’re there. Their unique brand of diet yet filling garage-pop isn’t necessarily bad. I like the EP. The last track, Don’t Go Looking for My Heart is a catchy blend of angry beach rock that might even rival the unmistakable tone of FIDLAR. But from a musical and emotional standpoint, this EP does not make the band stand out from their sonic neighbors in the decade-old garage-revival genre or the modern-day indie-punk genre. 

The biggest thing DBUB does right on this EP is have fun. You can tell the band had a blast recording it. It’s clear their live shows are energetic and raucous.  Still, it’s nothing special. It’s not quite punk or dad rock or garage-revival or psych, but it fits safely and snugly in the center. So if you want something new to listen to in that general genre area, I’d recommend Tell Me Why EP, but it’s not going to be the next big thing.

By Alan Tett