Cost of Attrition – There You Go


Cost of Attrition’s three song EP debut marks the beginning of a successful run. This Indianapolis duo of Wheeler Castaneda and Joshua Grow sound hungry and on fire during every song, but they also are developed enough as songwriters that these tracks never bite off more than can chew and overstay their welcome. Instead, the songwriting on There You Go is intensely focused without ever failing to show off their skill in tasteful ways. Tasteful isn’t an adjective we often apply to the band’s style of rock and pop/rock, but Castaneda and Grow sound like performers who know exactly what they want with each song and resist any temptation for wasting their time on side trips. There’s some flash worked into these songs, but it’s just enough to put an exclamation point on their confidence. It’s a quality that comes shining through on every cut.

“Not Your Psycho” has a wallop of attitude. Some guitar flash opens the song, but the arrangement soon shifts into an irresistible strut Cost of Attrition has the defining parts to make this kind of musical successful in working order but, despite these reference points, the duo fills this track with singular and unbridled spirit. You wouldn’t soon confuse what they do with anything other bands in their peer group do and they accomplish it with a lean economy more self-conscious musicians and songwriters struggle to attain. This is a track with an ample amount of musical verve and straight up attitude that’s never abrasive but, instead, picks the listener up and carries them into the band’s creative vision. The rhythm section has a massive sound on this song, but it’s Grow’s fiery guitar that leaves the deepest marks on the audience. “Oh Yeah” has a much more commercial approach than the opener, but the hard hitting nature of both songs have strong similarities. Castaneda’s vocals are much wide open here and the raw tone he captures humanizes the physicality of the performance. The same fierce rhythm section work giving the opener much of its assertive tone returns for this song, but Cost of Attrition de-clutters the approach some and gives the song a lot of room to breathe and move in a fluid, swinging fashion. The strut defining the opener is present here in its own way.

The title song has a much lighter touch. This is due, primarily, to the duo foregoing electric guitars in favor of acoustic, but even this variant on the EP’s six string work still possesses a hard hitting physicality. It’s Castaneda’s best vocal on the release and he delivers it with even more emotion than he brought to bear in the first two songs and an additional dollop of playfulness missing from the previous outings. Cost of Attrition’s debut is memorable on many fronts, but it’s chief distinguishing trait is how inspired it comes out. This duo has a gripping sound and knows exactly how they want to present themselves. There You Go will sweep listeners up with its imagination and energy.

9 out of 10 stars


Michael Saulman