The Namedroppers are, they admit, not so good with this genre thing. Lead Anthony Damiao started out trying to find a place in the folk scene before finding new footing with what was to become the rest of the band—Michael Di Felice, Sam Dlugokecki and Stephen Gomboc. The added members meant Damiao’s ambitions to add more to the music, like pulling from classic rock and punk influences, could finally come to fruition.
They threw all those elements into a blender for their fall debut, spewing out nine songs that run the gamut from Tom Waits and Sex Pistols imitation to your more staple folk. The uniting thread is spun out from the same idea as Luddite, their single from nearly a year ago. Lead Damiao, who strains and rips away at the vocals throughout, is equally vocal when talking about how Bored Bored Bored is a protest album—just not in the traditional sense. Instead of riffing on politics he’s taking issue with the apathy he sees in his own generation.
“Even the maladjusted have an overwhelming capacity to look at this gigantic world full of stuff to do, full of different ways of disturbing the applecart, and say ‘I’m BORED!’ Minus the crucial words ‘and I’m gonna do something about it,’” he explains.
In that case, The Namedroppers couldn’t have released their album at a better time—the final sparkplug jolt before the soporific effects of winter creep in and plunge us into another eight months of inertia. From the opening thirty-second “Intro,” it’s obvious the band is out to catch your attention. The whirring, experimental opener slips into an aggressive and punchy rhythm, and the onslaught carries onto the very end.
“Luddite” makes a reappearance, but it’s Damiao’s hissing growl on “Get Straight” that really seems to capture his frustration. Meanwhile “St James Infirmary” ends up as the catchiest song from the first half, playing with fret board flutters as it plows on ahead. But it’s on “Rotor,” pushing past seven minutes in duration, that their debut lives up to the challenge The Namedroppers are not so subtly issuing.
The lengthy song also marks a shift for the back half as it segues part of the way through into a slower, edgy classic rock. While it ends up spiraling frantically towards the close, the shifts in pacing fits neatly into the somber march to the close. Final tracks “Astroboy” and “Smaller” show off the band’s early folk roots, blending the traditional sounds with punk in a modernized lament.
In many ways The Namedroppers—as though living up to their name—feel like they’re still holding on to the rebellious and activist generations of our past. But while there’s no denying they’re looking back on a rich history of protest songs, they’re also very clearly steering them in a new direction. It’s that twist that keeps Bored Bored Bored from being a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Top Tracks: “St James Infirmary”; “Astroboy”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)