By Anthony J. Machcinski
Looking to follow in the success of other two-piece bands such as The White Stripes, Kearny’s own duo The Cartwheelers is looking to take on the local music scene by storm.
Comprised of fellow Kearny High School classmates Kevin McSorley on guitar and Stephan Dias on the drums, The Cartwheelers formed two years ago, hoping to create a larger band.
“We were looking for a bassist, but it was hard to get people to come in,” McSorley said. “It just didn’t work out.”
More than up for the challenge, McSorley and Dias formed The Cartwheelers and began working on the band’s first LP, “Hot Socks! It’s The Cartwheelers.”
McSorley said that the lack of a bassist made writing songs for the LP tough, with many original cuts of the song not deep enough.
“We were going for a raw sound,” McSorley said. “You have to try a little harder to make it sound fuller. Without a bass, it’s tough writing songs.”
McSorley said the band made up for it with a clearer sound with “a lot of reverb and delay.”
Friends told Mc- Sorley that the band sounded like, “surfing through dirty water,” explained later as being clean, but with a rough edge to it.
The duo’s closest popular comparison would be the once-married husband and wife duo of Jack and Megan White of the White Stripes.
While none of The Cartwheeler’s songs on the “Hot Socks” album is as hard hitting as The White Stripes hit “Seven Nation Army,” several of the Stripes’ songs, including “Fell in Love With a Girl,” are similar to The Cartwheelers.
On “I’ll Never Never Never Never See You Again,” McSorley’s guitar playing makes up for a lack of a bass guitarist. With a quick tempo and a clear, but crunchy guitar rhythm, the song provides an adrenaline rush from start to finish.
In other songs, such as “Latina Bus” and “Birds,” the band reverts to a more “California” style, with a relaxed rhythm similar to that found in a Sublime song. Dias’s drum play and McSorley’s simple guitar rhythm combine to make a track that is impossible not to bob your head to.
McSorley said that while performing without a bass player is certainly a challenge, it also creates its own set of advantages.
“It’s definitely a lot easier because we don’t have to worry about what the bass player is doing,” Mc- Sorley said. “I can just show (the songs) to Stephan and we can perform it.”
McSorley started playing guitar after he received the instrument for Christmas. After a short period, McSorley picked the instrument back up and self-taught himself.
“I was just kind of fiddling with it,” McSorley said. “I kind of taught myself, just only some brief lessons. No real formal schooling, just reading books and searching online.”
While the band has only played local smaller venues such as Donegal Saloon in Kearny and the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, they have taken crowds by surprise.
“People are shocked to see us two little guys up there,” McSorley said. “It’s nice to know that people like our music.”
The duo’s next goal is to work on a fulllength album, all the while having loftier goals in mind.
“We’re shooting to perform in Madison Square Garden, but that’ll probably take a while,” McSorley quipped. “Right now we have six unrecorded songs, but we’re shooting for like 10 to 12. It’d be cool to be playing festivals and stuff too.”