The Ohio based power trio Inbokeh brings a massive wall of ragged but right distorted guitars seemingly culled from Neil Young and Crazy Horse outtakes, powerhouse drumming, and a sharp instinct for writing melodies that work well within that framework to their debut EP Into the Sun. This is a six song collection with a cacophonous sonic fingerprint – the production, invariably, choose to emphasize the musical elements of each song over the vocals and, as a partial result, Inbokeh comes across as an intelligent, but rambunctious outfit. The bright sheen in their music comes from their virtual constant insistence on filling each piece with often impressive melodies. Without their individual sense of the guitar’s melodic possibilities in unusual settings, Inbokeh would be just more guitar rock noise merchants. Instead, their songs have a little bit of everything for devotees of this music and easily shift gears when the compositions demand.
Swelling guitar distortion followed by slashing chords opens “Cool Days” before drums and bass fall in behind the changes. This is Inbokeh at their most sedate. The EP’s first track moves quite methodically, but not without melody, and shows the patience of veteran musicians and songwriters. The following songs, however, illustrate that the opener is arguably one of the weakest selections melodically. “Too Good to Be My Devil” has a guitar-based melody that immediately hooks itself into listener’s memories. There’s an attitude, or the suggestion of it, in the phrasing that suggests defiant desperation. Inbokeh’s narrator knows they might be in trouble, but instead seems more strongly drawn to their passion. The same melodic prowess distinguishes “Spend Time”, but it’s inflamed with an added punk rock spirit completely devoid of pretension. Unfortunately, they fail to explore some of the track’s potential dynamic range and it might leave the song feeling a little underdeveloped for some.
“Head Out into the Sun” begins with a brief bass introduction before sliding into its hypnotic, winding early riffing. Inbokeh favors meaty, expansive chords rather than two or three string power changes and it tempers the darker shades in their songwriting. They break away from the song’s initial mood when they hit the bridge and let loose with some well spaced notes and lush vocal harmonies. “Stay” begins like its revving up for something wild and unrestrained, but the chords keep spiraling in the same disjointed roll for a little too long. Inbokeh bursts free on the song’s rousing chorus and it’s no looking back from there. There’s no bridge in the song so the song structure suffices with a single climatic break in the track’s second half before moving into its final seconds. Despite the song’s modest running time, some may finish this track thinking Inbokeh is better served seizing the energy at their disposal and dispensing with virtually all preambles. The EP’s final track, “Ghosts in my Hallway”, starts off at a leisurely mid-tempo pace peppered with some nice rolling drum fills and maintains a steady direction. The vocal melody is a little more complex than the earlier songs and Inbokeh extends themselves musically, but the band’s winning formula still carries the day for a great closing.