GUNDACKER PROJECT – Plug Me In (2014)
“Plug Me In” is the debut album from GUNDACKER PROJECT, one of the most exciting indie Melodic Hard Rock bands that I heard in a long time.
Mastermind Dave Gundacker grew up in Anchorage, Alaska where he learned to play guitar and drums at a very young age and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the ’80s where he played on various underground bands, while writing and recording demos of original Melodic Hard Rock music.
When the musical environment changed in the hands of grunge, Dave stopped performing his original music to audiences, dedicating his time to teaching.
But with the recent resurgence of MHR/AOR, Dave decided to return into the game enlisting Bay Area veteran drummer Craig Martin, female bass player ‘Win The Bassmaiden’, keyboardist Alanna Bautista and crazy lead vocalist Timothy J. Bednarz.
It was then that the Gundacker Project born in 2012.
“Plug Me In” is pure late ’80s high energy, electrifying Melodic Hard Rock with AOR touches, plenty of catchy hooks, strong melodies and full vocal harmonies typical of the genre / era. It’s not strange, as many of these 11 dynamite songs were penned by Dave Gundacker twenty five years ago.
Frontman Timothy J. literally brings a flame thrower to the speakers with his powerful pipes, Dave’s razor sharp guitar riffs and leads blast jolts of high energy in his arena-ready delivery, all over a pumping rhythm section, loads of keyboards infusions and 4-part vocal harmonies.
Opener and title track “Plug Me In” is a straight ahead rocker laced with bouncy keyboards, a memorable chorus, catchy lyrics and good nature’d vocals galore. The next tune “Magazine” is one of my favorites, a highly melodic number with a hair metal smell recalling Autograph or Black ‘N Blue in their prime.
“Your Love Lights Up The Sky” goes classic American Melodic Hard Rock driven by a catchy riff and the chorus is vivacious with Timothy Bednarz’s leads backed by lots of harmonies by the rest of the band. David Gundacker’s slick intro rhythm guitar and lead solo on this track is full of pinch harmonics with tasty hot memorable fast licks.
Track number four “You’re My Infection” is infectious indeed, an exciting AORish affair that is full of vibrancy with glorious power chords and melodic keyboards in abundance.
“They Burned The Innocent” comes out of gate strong with it’s beating staccato guitar playing all the while setting the cadence for the story telling lyrics. This tune sets a high water mark for the album overall. The blistering lead break is absolutely stellar, and again, Tim lead pipes and the vocal harmonies are to die for.
Next, we have “See The World” with a compelling keyboard induced theme, dense rockosity and a slamming six-string section, before AOR returns with “Running In Night”, another ’80s jewel. This tune soars on the wings of eagles.
I think “That Look In Your Eye” is one of the new penned tracks, as it sounds more modern, groovy and relentless, in the vein of 2000’s Dokken. “I’m Gonna Find You” is a soulfully sleek vibration that turns up the heat a little hotter for the next effervescent heavy thump-and-run of a song “Live Or Die”, a stomping hard rocker with some Skid Row on it.
For the end, we have perhaps the most clear example of Gundacker Project’s musical intentions; a cover of New England’s classic “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya”. Their version is awesome, plenty of class and of course, lots of keyboards.
Forget the indie status of the recording / release of “Plug Me In”: Gundacker Project’s songwriting, musicianship and production are terrific. They have captured the essence, sound and attitude from an era in a quite impressive way here.
If you want a healthy dose of killer riffs, heavy harmonies, tons of keyboards, backing vocals galore and earth shaking rhythms, then this is your slice of the pie in the sky.
These songs are vital, melodious, fun, catchy as hell, and makes you feel alive. Gundacker Project is pure American Melodic Hard Rock which at times pushes the envelope of hair metal extravaganza with AOR touches, all carefully arranged and polished.
01 – Plug Me In
02 – Magazine
03 – Your Love Lights Up The Sky
04 – You’re My Infection
05 – They Burned The Innocent
06 – See The World
07 – Running In The Night
08 – That Look In Your Eye
09 – I’m Gonna Find You
10 – Live Or Die
11 – Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya
Dave Gundacker: Lead Guitar, Vocals
Timothy J: Lead Vocals
Alanna Bautista: Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals
Win The Bassmaiden: Bass
Craig Martin: Drums, Vocals
BUY IT !