The Dudes - "East Side Good Times 5"
EAST SIDE GOOD TIMES 5
Serious Lovers for Real / December 22, 2017
Is there a more apt band name in music?
The Dudes released “East Side Good Times 5” a full five years since their last album, and with songs titled, “Heartbreak”, “Everybody Dies Too Soon” and “If You Leave Me” you might wrongfully assume the band is going in a new direction. However, while the band sticks to what it does best, straight-ahead rock chalked full of singalong vocal hooks, there is more at play here. Singer Dan Vacon touches on heavier themes throughout the album about love and loss, and fallen friends who may have been lost too soon due to an overindulgence of the good times. Perhaps this album is more of a reminder to cherish life when the going is good than to worry about when things get bad.
The Calgary natives have put together a true albums album, top to bottom well-balanced without a top-heavy set of tunes. They take their time dipping into slower tunes, as the first three songs are tight, slick and well-polished Dudes tracks. The opener, “No1 Fan” is a tongue-and-cheek no-frills rock song about being his own number one fan. “Forever is Forever” thrashes along and teases us with the first great guitar solo of the album. Again, a little older now, Vacon muses about taking his time with this girlfriend, as he has “learned how love has a high turnover”.
Absolutely packed with anthemic and chant-worthy lyrical hooks, this album seems built for the live venue. After a few songs and the sweat and good times get going, the band will surely play “Ain’t Nobody”. A beautiful, grab your beau and slow dance ballad, that flutters along with melancholy guitar riffs and a bass line that falls into beat to carry the rhythm. It’s a mature song and a refreshing break-up of the high-speed rock songs that lead us into the middle of the album and the title track.
The title track might just get stuck in your head for days. The loud vocal refrain that screams, “Johnny's wasted, Judy's wasted, we're all wasted friends.Tim got over, Steve got over, we got over it” might just sum up everything you need to know about The Dudes. It’s about drinking too much when you know you shouldn’t, being full of regret and forgiving one another. That good times can heal everything, even when too much of a good time can be a bad time.
The album is a good time. What else would you expect from The Dudes? Experts of singing about the things that anyone can relate to, the album is airtight and packed with punk rock power chords and drum build-ups to catchy choruses, followed by dynamic bridges and interludes. The guitar solos are well placed and not self-indulgent, each breathing and being born in the right places of the album. The lyrics will undoubtedly force you to think introspectively, only for a moment though, because the solos will kick back in, the stuck in your head chants follow, and you’re bobbing your head. The Dudes did what they do best, while sprinkling the idea that they're not just about the good time all the time. The album and band are aware of the idea that while the good times can fix anything, they can't last forever. And that is something to celebrate.