Reviewing local independent music can be difficult at times — especially nowadays, when artists are mixing and matching styles and blurring the lines between genres. Categorization and classification can be next to impossible in the modern digital age, and sometimes even describing the sounds on certain records can be a challenge.

That’s why it’s unbelievably refreshing (both as a writer and a music fan) to come across a release that can be summed up in two simple words: This ROCKS!

“I’d like to be sweet, but it don’t come naturally,” belts singer/guitarist Sasha Alcott on the opening/title track to “Making Enemies,” the new EP by the Bangor-based duo When Particles Collide.

Over a chugging, no-frills guitar riff and solid no-nonsense drumming from Chris Viner, Alcott plays the role of playground tomboy standing up to a rival with promises to “punch you in the gut and spit in your eye.” That may look like a throw-away line on paper, but when you hear it snarled over her fully cranked guitar, you know that Alcott means what she sings!

The rocking continues with the foot-stomping “Finally Found the One,” a percussive ode to finding a lover who satisfies, challenges and confounds all expectations.

The prettiest track on the EP would have to be “To the North.” The song’s jittery verses meld into a gorgeous jangle-pop chorus that sounds like it could have been a great lost track from The Pretenders.

“Blondie” ends things in fine fashion, with a sound that recalls the art-punk heyday of CBGB’s circa ’77, but still manages to sound fresh and modern at the same time.

When Particles Collide are a male-female guitar/drums duo, and, as such, comparisons to The White Stripes are almost unavoidable and inevitable. But where Jack and Meg amplified the blues to create their signature sound, When Particles Collide combine a genuine pop sensibility with a “three chords and an attitude” delivery to come up with something punky, fresh, fun and righteously rocking. Turn this one up and enjoy!

When Particles Collide have several area gigs coming up, including the KahBang Festival in Bangor on Thursday, the Portland Picnic Festival on Aug. 25, and Bayside Bowl in Portland on Aug. 26.

Find more at Stream and order “Making Enemies” at

Rick Johnson is a freelance writer and radio host from Westbrook. He can be reached at:

[email protected]


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