The first impression made by Centro-matic’s new album Candidate Waltz is something like “wow this band packs a lot of music into thirty three minutes”. Punchy and direct, the June 21st release is comprised of rock at its most basic level.
Some might call the album nostalgic Americana, especially the fifth track, “Only in my Double Mind”, which is reminiscent of Polyphonic Spree and an ounce of Arcade Fire. “Iso-Residue”, however, presents cleaner vocals and an undeniably bouncy, catchy sound. I would even dare to call it danceable.
As many fans know, the Denton-based Centro-matic sounds harder than their counterpart South San Gabriel despite overlapping membership. This signature sound the band developed was deemed “beefier” in the Dallas Observer, and SPIN stated that its “harmonies are stacked comfortingly like a chicken-fried Wall of Sound”. Frontman Will Johnson also referred to his work as a “meat and potatoes” album, which says a lot about the band’s simplistic style.
So what are national music outlets saying about Candidate Waltz?
“Candidate Waltz is the best of both worlds, an album that connects the second and 15th time through. It’s a simple record—light on atmospherics, heavy on hooks and riffs that grab with white knuckles”.
– Joel Oliphint, Paste
“By any math, though, Candidate Waltz is a solid entry point, showcasing the band’s mid-tempo stomps (reliably 4/4, despite the title) and Johnson’s Zevon-cribbing rasp and wit.”
– Steve Kandell, SPIN
“If the album leans heavily on Johnson’s indie side, though, it doesn’t stay stuck there. “Solid States” provides a notable departure, riding on an almost New Wave groove, sounding as familiar as an ‘80s song you’ve heard on the radio for two decades, yet unique enough to remain distinct from any of those songs.”
– Justin Cober-Lake, Pop Matters
If you haven’t gotten a chance to hear Will Johnson discussing Candidate Waltz on NPR’s All Things Considered, you now have no excuse not to listen. If you’re more of the visual type, well then enjoy this video for “Iso-Residue” in preparation for Centro-matic’s September 2 show opening for Drive-By Truckers at the Granada.