On their latest release Codex Du, Chicago rock band Razorhouse have released an EP consisting of six well done rock tunes, that not only show the bands expertise and wide range of influences, but how long each band member has been playing music. Front man Mark Panick on guitar and vocals has been performing in bands since the 1980’s, where he is best known for fronting post punk band Bonemen of Barumba, despite the group being short lived. All of the other members bring something to the table as well, as Razorhouse intertwines arena rock, pop, and 80’s influenced music to make up a diverse collection of tunes. Two of the only hang ups for the entire release are Panick’s raspy and smoky voice, along with the band trying to play to many different styles at once, leading the EP to feel disjointed at different times. While Panick’s voice, which may remind some listeners of Tom Waits, may fit in with other styles of music, it doesn’t fit on Codex Du, making that aspect of the EP feel weak, though not unlistenable.
Codex Du opens with “Distance Wheel”, a slow track that shows off the groups musical abilities, though as an album opener it isn’t a compelling song, as its dragging feel doesn’t make us want to listen further, since we were hoping for something more lively and exciting for a lead cut. Regardless of this flaw, the track shows off the bands diverse influences, making for an interesting listen. Next, we have “Regan’s Song”, an acoustic track that envelopes Panick’s voice, with his Waits style voice giving the song an eerie feeling that fits in well with the vibe of Codex Du.
Lastly, we have “St. Teresa” an 80’s inspired track that brings in synths to give the tune a brighter sound, and while bringing in instruments such as synths and strings is nothing new for Razorhouse, it’s good to know that they can write a song that has a happy sounding flow, and we hope that the group will continue to do this, as it sounds like it suits them well. While Codex Du has its moments of faltering, overall the release isn’t a bad one, though with its wide range of influences, it may not connect with everyone the way the band wants it to.