Formed in the mid-'90s in Queens, NY, Varistor is a veritable two-man rock machine. At the core of their Replacements, Archers of Loaf, and even the Rolling Stones (gone indie rock, of course) sound are guitarist and vocalist Patrick Walsh, and drummer Dan Darragh. The band has also included a slew of different bassists both welcomed and uninvited, but their strangely cohesive sound never really fell into place until Walsh bypassed a third member by throwing a few bass strings onto his electric guitar. Mixing cutting syncopations with forlorn melodies and immaculately tight drumming, the group is a fusion of tortured pop songs and a biting rock attitude that tends to result in driving and affecting musical output. The band's first recording, the aptly titled 2/15/97 7," was released on the doomed NY imprint International Truckers Union in late 1997 to rave reviews but has unfortunately gone out of print in the years that followed. Additional tumult caused the band to nearly dissolve at the end of the decade, but 2000 saw the pair reunite with a newfound interest in making their uniquely edgy but melodic music. Returning to the studio that June to record the again brilliantly titled 6/2/00, Varistor proved that time had not dulled their edge. Featuring five tracks that highlight the bands rhythmic understanding and powerful songwriting, the disc made it clear that the group was far from finished. Amidst a renewed desire to play shows and write new songs, the band has also sparked the interest of a few labels, leaving hope for the future that their material might one day be readily available to all interested listeners.
by Peter J. D'Angelo