With the recent release of debut album Makeshift Monster, New Jersey natives 18th & Addison showcase their unique brand of alternative rock in a gamut of styles. Hailing from Toms River township, the guitar driven group thrive on the raw feelings of emotive honesty found throughout their tracks: facing issues, letting go, believing, evolving and moving forward.
A pair of singer-songwriters make up 18th & Addision, both Tom Kunzman and Kait DiBenedetto share guitar-vocal duties. The two have kept busy since their initial meetup as an acoustic duo in late 2013, developing the Little Parasites EP in early 2015, then leading up to the Makeshift Monster release just last month, which now sounds like a style all their own. Just look at other projects they have been involved in: the edgy punk of A Criminal Risk, the MTV rock gloss of Just Kait and the power popping What’s Eating Gilbert.
The group’s words audaciously lead the way one track at a time, from fumbling around in “Hide & Seek” to finding a way in “All & Everything.” A few poignant lines really stick, especially in moments when Kunzman in a raspy sincerity wishes for “somewhere no one remembers your name” and DiBenedetto croons lightly over acoustic strums to stay for the night. “Disaster By Design” seems thematically out of place in its societal mess, punctuated by a surprisingly abrupt ending and even more so with the album closer’s lines of “dying slow as a martyr” since “there’s no belief for me to believe in.”
Yet despite the solemnness in theme, the brunt of the group’s songs are characterized by an impenetrable wall of sound. Kudos to an alt-rock bunch going past the trite noise we’ve all heard before, giving something a bit more meaningful. Just if it were me I would have ended the album on “All & Everything” simply for the message fading out: “I’ll find my way.”