THE ENDS — Thousand Ways
How does one categorize Burlington quartet the Ends as anything other than purely American rock? Their debut EP Thousand Ways may not be perfectly polished, but it is a sturdy six-track offering that establishes the sound, attitude and quirks of a band that draws heavy influence from bands like ZZ Top, the Radiators and Clutch while imparting their own styles forged from years of performing with other acts.
Opener “Fine Day” boasts a pile-driving boogie riff to downplay the song’s fatalistic optimism. Title track “Thousand Ways” tones down both the tempo and the sarcasm to feature former Killwhitneydead bassist Josh Coe’s groovy low end trips to nervous harmonies that recall Spooky Two-era Spooky Tooth. “Stumbling Distance” is one-two punch of fuzzy, barrelhouse guitar crunch and growling vocals that hits right in the gut, but it’s positioning before the folksy, almost tender “Sticks & Stones” is a strange juxtaposition. The latter, with its gospel organ and uplifting aesthetic, sounds almost like a different band entirely, though the string-bending workouts still remain. The Ends continue to hit hard with “In Her Pain,” whose Southern funk and Neil Fallon-inspired growl by Keith Ingalls is the sound that seems to best define the band. The most fun you’ll have within, however, is the fully instrumental album closer “1 B,” a six-minute-plus romp through sizzling jazz guitars, bristling drums and wobbly bass lines. Some of this EP glides by on its sound alone and if the record’s not entirely satisfying because of flow, it may be because they’re still learning how to craft records as a band. With the band’s combined experience, however, expect that to come eventually.
The Ends play every Wednesday night at BrewBalls in Burlington.