Attik Door: Russian Rock by Way of San Francisco [Review]

Attik DoorHard rock band Attik Door consists mainly of members from Russia with the exception of bass player Rita Grabarova, who hails from the Ukraine. The band formed in 2011 and quickly immigrated to San Francisco to put out their first self-titled EP late that same year. Since the move, Attik Door has been making waves in Northern California and beyond with their 80s hard rock/ska mashup style and their incredible high energy live shows. The band just released their first full-length album, entitled Never in Agreement, and they have taken some definite risks on this work.

Attik Door quickly became known for their specific sound when they released their first EP in 2011. Touring off the back of this self-titled EP for almost three years, the band must have felt pigeon-holed as each member is an accomplished musician and the band clearly has a big creative streak. On their Soundcloud page, Attik Door stipulated that this new album is a bit of a departure, and that they wanted to try some new styles. While to be known so quickly for a certain style can be great for a new band like Attik Door, it is certainly understandable why they wanted to explore other avenues to ensure their sound does not become stale. That said, some of the experiments worked in the case of Never in Agreement, while other pieces were not quite as successful.

Attik DoorAttik Door’s first EP established them as an interesting and novel hard rock act in the Northern California music scene, a landscape which leans heavily towards indie rock and dream pop. All the songs on this EP are powerful, raucous and full of 80s throwback guitar solos from dual leads Alex Shrayber and Tim Shulepov. Singer Liana Tovmasyan’s strong voice, previously dedicated to rap, holds up to the power of the guitars, and Rita Grabarova and drummer Igor Boyko’s hard rock rhythm section.

With Attik Door’s full-length Never in Agreement, there is still plenty of that hard rock moxie in songs like the lead track and first single, Posers and a later track, The Front. The album then takes a surprisingly milder turn with the beautiful and catchy California. This track is easily the best on the album, and shows that Attik Door does indeed have the versatility portray other styles on this album. The guitars here take on a lighter feel though they are no less prevalent, and Tovmasyan’s vocals also show the ability to adapt to softer tones. Now no longer known only for belting out power ballads, Tovmasyan has shown her musical chops go beyond the rough edges of hard rock and rap.

In the songs after California, Attik Door’s first full-length venture unfortunately gets a bit stale despite the band’s efforts to change things up. They do definitely have a formula for their songs, which is why California is so refreshing. Songs like Snorting Headlines and Cyber World are reflections of this formula and end up sounding a bit samey. In other cases when the band does successfully branch out and do something different, such as in Spinning Out, it sounds a bit like they are being too safe. Other tracks work almost as well as California, however, such as Time, is a track which features unique guitar work and takes advantage of Tovmasyan’s Gwen Stefani-like voice to merge some ska with their characteristic hard rock sound. On the other hand, Moody, the album’s last song, tries the same type of ska/hard rock merging and does not work quite as well.

There is a definite learning curve when a band like Attik Door is trying to define or re-define their sound. It is clear that the members of Attik Door are inspired by many types of music and each of them has a genuine talent to showcase within the band. On a first album, Attik Door can be forgiven when some of the risks they take do not work out quite right. Never in Agreement certainly has enough good songs where Attik Door’s classic style shines through or where their merging of styles experiment creates a piece which is truly well-done. It seems in the case of Attik Door, all that will be needed is a little more time and practice to find the sound they are looking for. Never in Agreement is currently available to download for free on Attik Door’s Soundcloud page, and videos of their exciting live performances are available on their YouTube page. Links to both sites are available below in “Sources.”

Review by Layla Klamt


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