Los Angeles-based, New England-bred band The Rare Occasions released their self-produced EP Attaboy on November 4, 2022. Brian McLaughlin (vocals) and Luke Imbusch (drums) started making music as teenagers, but later expanded with Jeremy Cohen (bass) to create the band. In 2015, the group won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and since then have released their debut album as a trio, amassed millions of listens on Spotify, and toured worldwide. Attaboy is representative of The Rare Occasions’ hard hitting rock and roll abilities, while still catching unique melodies and powerful notes sure to get people jamming out.
Attaboy opens with “Seasick”, a single that gathered the attention of radio stations across the country when it was released. It sets the tone with it’s intense guitar riffs and steady drum beat, immediately showcasing McLaughlin’s strong vocals. The second song, “Not Afraid”, brings in the band’s garage rock abilities and control over music that allows them to slow down before building up to a powerful chorus.
The third track, “Start This Over”, covers what it’s like to wish for a do-over in a relationship. “Wish I could start this over/ Say the things I should have said/ I know I feel like I’m a different person/ Than I was the day you left.” It’s one of the slower songs on the EP but still fits in with the rest of the collection due to McLaughlin’s melodic voice and Imbusch’s catchy beat.
“Turnaround”, the fifth song on Attaboy, really highlights the band’s songwriting abilities, the entire track providing commentary on feeling defeated with the state of the world. “They pulverize that common ground/ When it’s fracked beneath our feet/ We all wait for the turnaround/ Just a hopeless fantasy.” Attaboy closes with “Because You Love Me”, the tune a stark contrast from the EP’s rock feel before. It’s reminiscent of 60s love songs with its jazzy notes and slow pace, equipped with sweet lyrics like, “How do I say what I want?/ Where do I always go wrong?/ All that I know is that yours is the hand to hold mine/ If you’re so inclined like warmth in the cold/ We drift through the unknown.”
The Rare Occasions has achieved awards and critical acclaim since its inception, but they’re far from slowing down. Attaboy is the rockable end result to long awaited new music, something that’s perfect for dancing to and at the same time thought-provoking in the way only rock and roll can be.