New Jersey rap/rock group Green Knuckle Material put out a new EP just a few weeks ago. Their EP “Renaissance” is now available for download/streaming on Bandcamp or for streaming on Spotify. The five-piece group aims to combine groovy acoustic jams with a mixture of melodic vocals and rapping.
Adding to their mixture of bright acoustic flavor and wide-eyed rapping, the band incorporates a wide array of instruments into their sound. The group lays congas and a blend of auxiliary percussion on top of their driving rock rhythms. Elements of funk and hard rock balance each other out, and they even find room for a saxophone in the mix. It’s easy to see the band’s influences in their songs, which glow in adoration for well-known groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Incubus.
“Renaissance” features five songs by the Bergen County based band. On the song “For the First Time,” band MC and rapper Scatterbrain PG takes center stage with his flowing delivery. Acoustic guitar player and lead vocalist Young Dan joins in on the chorus, using his pristine voice and starry-eyed lyrics to paint a picture of accepting the world as it is and finding happiness no matter how much scary, painful stuff we hear about on the news.
When Dan sings “Make some time for your friends today / And don’t forget about your families,” he’s trying to remind himself and others that it’s the simple things that make life beautiful and fulfilling, like a colorful sunrise or the love of another person. “For The First Time” is their best song for that same reason. The band keeps it simple, and lays down a loose, fun track that shimmers with energy.
“Pictures” is also worth an honorable mention. The band finds a solid groove on the song, but loses it a bit during a short guitar break. By the end the song begins to get a little bogged down in its instrumental elements, which overwhelm its melody just when they need it to carry the song. Still, there’s a lot of potential there.
When Green Knuckle Material finds their groove on “Renaissance” is when their music is at its best. Though they sometimes get mixed up in a cacophony of ideas, there is a lot of potential for expression in the dynamic interplay between melodic elements and rap verse. Fans of the rap/rock sound will find a lot of inspiration and spirit in this New Jersey band.
“Renaissance” is out now.