Music history is littered with bands that put out a killer debut, only to follow it with album after album of diminishing returns. It's so common, they gave it a name: the dreaded “sophomore slump.”
It takes a combination of factors — songs, skills, passion, interpersonal harmony — for a band to continue cranking out sweet tunes once the honeymoon phase is over. And it appears that Bend's Tuck and Roll is going to make it over that hump.
Exhibit A: “Broken Radios,” the quartet's new five-song EP on NWNX Records. Clocking in at 15 minutes long, the EP is pop-punk done right, where Sean Garvin's urgent drumming and Ben Jones' sturdy bass lines provide the power and guitarists Sam Fisher and Chris Murra chip in buzzy power chords arranged to ensure maximum toe-tapping.
Atop it all, Fisher's melodies shine. The chorus of “Bum Shot” is a bounce-along beauty, framed by classic “whoa-oh, whoa-oh” background vocals. “Joke's On Us” puts the pedal on the floor, paying homage to old-school Bay Area punk. “Grey Skies,” in turn, hits the brakes a tad, showcasing Tuck and Roll's sensitive, nostalgic side.
That's only 60 percent of “Broken Radios,” and the final two songs are terrific too. But I'll leave that for you to discover. It suffices to say they hold up Tuck and Roll's tradition of packing their releases with taut, catchy songs that reflect an understanding of the importance of efficiency when making records.