This is Los Angeles based Max Fite. The main force behind this band is singer/guitarist Max Fitelson. Now you know where the band name comes from. And as far as names go, Max Fite works well on a few levels. Although, despite the moniker, the band is not overly aggressive. Rather, they hold down a restrained, moody polish across mid-tempo, driving rock songs. This can be heard on the band’s debut, “Shake It On Down” that dropped in August of 2016. The band is fairly new, forming in 2015. So chances are, this is your first listen to Max Fite. For a sonic comparison, think The Smithereens semi-famous track, ‘A Girl Like You’ and you will be getting close to the catchy, pop-structured rockers offered up on, “Shake It On Down”. While guitar driven, the songs are created as a vehicle to serve up the lyrical content. Fite tends to write in a rigid rhyme scheme, repeating phrases often to make them stick. It’s a tried and true pop formula, and serves Fite well, although sometimes feels restrained. Perhaps Max Fite needs to suffer a bit more to bring out the hurt, break out the passion, and make the listener feel the trials and tribulations Fite sings about. A bit of ‘dirty’ would serve Max Fite well, as their recorded sound tends to polish up some obvious scars in the motivation behind this music. Some of this quality might be the influence of Jaron Luksa who produced, recorded, and engineered “Shake It On Down”. Luska’s previous credits include John Legend, Foster The People, The Dresden Dolls, Angelique Kidjo, The Secret Machines, Margaret Cho, Zoe Keating, Alabama Shakes and Collective Soul. ‘The Devil In Me’ sets the tone as the opener with reverb drenched 90’s alt-rock guitars and marching drums that push the verses into the chorus like a wave crashing into a wall soft distortion. Digging deeper into the EP, ‘Court Jester’ features some sly slide guitar runs against big strum chords. Always accompanied by Fite’s soulful howl of vocals, the song drags the listener along until it erupts with a double tempo break out at the end. ‘Shake It On Down’, the title track, sounds akin to 90’s stalwart underground rockers, Urge Overkill, especially with Fite’s reserved, yet passionate vocals. ‘My Own Fantasy’ has a Clash-like punk stomp with some smoking lead licks and ‘Yes Man’ closes out the six song EP with a pumping rocker fueled by a big drum driven chorus painted with messy distorted chords until broken up by a punkier breakdown, then the whole thing collapses back together… Husker Du/Bob Mould fans take note. Max Fite is a rock band. Falling somewhere next to hard rock, with subtle nods to blues and pop arrangements in hooks… they are the kind of band that finds an easy home on the radio. Will they set the world on fire with their middle of the road, straight up rock? No. They will not. At best they will tour hard, find a respectable following and go to sleep at night knowing that, hey… at least they have a cool name.