Do U Damage (EP)

The Specimen

Peace Biscuit/SP Lab, 2006

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


When it comes to EPs, my attitude has always been that the music had better be so good that it leaves the listener wanting more. 

In the ’70s, especially in the punk scene, record companies used to release EPs to see if there was actually a sizeable audience worthy of a full albums’ worth of material from their roster of new artists. Now it seems as if EPs are starting to make a comeback, though for larger labels it may be a little too late. The smaller indies are using many ingenious marketing schemes -- including bringing back the EP -- as a way for us music junkies of the world to keep the CD (and the album) around for as long as possible. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But hey, if the music is as good as Do U Damage, the new EP by The Specimen, there may be hope yet for unknown artists to break through to the mainstream.

The Specimen is actually the moniker of wunderkind Matt Gorny, who handles virtually all instruments and vocals with single-handed ease.  The title track is a catchy number reminiscent of the British group Blur, though it would have benefited from a stronger and more gradual intro. “Hot Stuff” is a slinky number where Gorny utilizes his upper register, and with lyrics like “you better check yourself” and “give up your money shot” the tune exemplifies what the bling-bling 2000s have been all about.

Gorny’s breathy and uneven vocal on “Move Like That” grows a little tiresome, making it the one bum note on an otherwise impressive set of tunes. The second half of Do You Damage starts out with a so-so remake of Rod Stewart’s “Da You Think I’m Sexy,” on which Matt Gorny seems to do his best Justin Timberlake impersonation. “Trigger A Bomb” sounds like it might sound better performed live than it actually does on this EP. 

My feeling is that Gorny could really benefit from some voice lessons, as his barely-there vocals tend to fade into the musical scenery on songs like this one. “Kick In The Teeth” is probably the best song of all, though from the looks of things it was added as a bonus track almost as an afterthought. 

The music is inventive and punchy throughout Do You Damage, so it is fairly obvious Gorny knows how to craft the perfect electronic dance/pop song where the hook is the essential component. If he were to discover a lower register, however, it would really help to broaden his range as a vocalist.

There’s no telling what the future might hold for The Specimen, though something tells me this act could give The Killers some serious competition. Matt Gorny may not have charisma like Brandon Flowers, but he certainly has the talent and potential.

Rating: B

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© 2006 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Peace Biscuit/SP Lab, and is used for informational purposes only.