Review: Return for Refund – Return for Refund


Return for Refund are a group of guys that really want you to have a good time. Their music is beer compatible, burns with southern-fried spice, and will please any person that still believes in rock ‘n’ roll. Sure, there are a few bumpy spots here and there, but they are a band that shares the same DNA with  Gov’t Mule, Foo Fighters, and, as if you needed a surprise twist, the mighty Black Sabbath.

Some of the best moments on Return For Refund, their latest EP, are their funkiest. Drew Clementino, the lead vocalist and guitarist, is able to scream like a young Anthony Kiedis by way of a lifetime of Marlboro blacks.  From the hallowed wild-winds of Canada, the group has assembled a trail mix of pain pill hatred, smashed-bar-room-fury, and vomit arson upon the walls inside themselves. Do they talk about love? Of course they do. Do they preach and tell you to free yourself  from the oppressing chains of the world? If you listen hard enough, yes.

That’s where the Sabbath comparison comes into perspective, heavy riffing atop a mountain of hazy information. It all starts with “The Fields,” a hammer-on infestation of manifesting honesty and questionable matters in a black hole of femme fatale attraction. Sasha Molotkow is beyond solar, schooling rock and roll clumsies with red-hot solos. The drumming is also incredible. Karlis Hawkins is able to keep listeners guessing with a high range of beats to devour, sneaking in enough wicked fills for tightened-scene punks to frolick in.

The lyrics are simple, with “come between the sheets” gags and Mangum-memorable “coffee would be nice” playability… but right around the middle of the EP, I started to drift off a bit.

While the hungry musicians play hard, raw, and devastatingly-twisted, the album itself lacks a certain intelligence the group is most definitely capable of bringing to the forefront of their music. If they can sing about “infecting all of the simple-minded,” shouldn’t their work and future work hit a smarter, even more focused direction? The pistol-pump of “Yolo” is a sure-shot of brains, critiquing the recent generations Drake influence and fucked-up fuckery, but when it’s all over, I’m happy without a reason behind me.

The stampede of chaotic drums then bleeds to a distorted riff and slimy-sleek guitar work,”Some Is Better Than None” is a song that belts with Lynyrd Skynyrd feeling while dipping in Edgar Allan woe. Sure, it all stays fun, but Return for Refund are undeniably in need of a clearer message. At times I felt like I was freed from the universal squalor of living, and really into this EP, but then the group would break away to simple pandering about girls complaining and the indescribable joy of kicking people out of places they don’t belong.

The riffs are interstellar. The fun is undeniable. The only thing missing is the personality of this power trio.

Return for Refund is a fine brew of Marshall Stack, bodging the dance floor and boogieing with strange brews and even stranger broads. They are a great addition to the wasteland of rock ‘n’ roll and most definitely deserve more than a few listens. After all, they are able to jam more than sixth genres into this album. That in itself deserves recognition.

Listen here:

Watch the video for lead single “The Fields” here: