I’m struggling a little bit to find a suitable way to describe this. You see, you won’t find outright experimentation or whatever here. Neither are they clearly copying someone in any degree. I just get a good vibe from it, it’s like the three historical figures responsible for this music simply have a good taste in general indie rock, the 90’s type, after everything really important had already transfigured (birth, folk, blues rock, psychedelic, metal, punk, electronic, repeat) and then we were left with having to deal with this laid down tradition. In the end you just sort of pickup a few instruments and do what you want. If you are somehow good, creative and have good taste, it works.
That’s how I feel about this album. It sort of works because there is good taste involved, but there is no intentional stylistic content, it’s just kind of made, which doesn’t make it bad, it’s just natural. You get everything from distorted guitars to acoustic guitar and bass, with drums or percussion, whistling (fading away into the reverb of the void), harmonicas, guitar and voice, laid back or energetic, sometimes punk influences, sometimes folk influences, sometimes pretty sometimes rough etc. Just about anything but synths. I think in the end the closest relation would be to 90’s alternative rock, the kind that would never be anything but alternative, like the Moldy Peaches, The Meat Puppets or my favorites, Quasi. You know the type. Sometimes it sounds like Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York as well.
I’m surprised by the production, it isn’t subpar with what you got from listening to those alternative rock bands of the 90’s, who recorded in studios. The song structures sound very professional as well, with all the breaks, choruses, build-ups, build-downs, sudden rise in emotion from the singing etc. It’s all done with taste, no melody or chorus or whatever ever outstays their welcome, the songs finish exactly when they are supposed to – which means that the closing section was well prepared and well executed. The vocals also are always spot-on, everything is just so professional-sounding, I’m impressed. What doesn’t impress me so much are the lyrics, though they aren’t subpar with regular rock lyrics either. I figure most people don’t even care for lyrics, so if that’s your case, don’t worry, nothing cringe worthy or anything, just not notable.
One last paragraph about the listening experience as a whole. This album is greatly varied and you can sense it already in the contrast between the two first songs, which are completely different. And then comes a strange instrumental track, so you know you are in for a treat. No fillers at all, the album felt alive and kicking from beginning to end, never bored me, and I found the succession of experiments with already established sounds very entertaining. For example, on Bone Marrow you have this classic vocal effect, I’m not sure how it’s done, but it sounds like very compressed, with some reverb, on a very quiet volume, just enough to squeeze the voice betweeen the little bits of instrumentation before the sudden rise when the voice stops. This happens about three times before the closing, when the vocals, screaming, finally mingle with the rise in the instrumentation, for a strong emotional effect. I have probably listened to this effect a hundred times so it’s cool to see these dudes doing it just for shits and giggles.
Apart from this sort of nostalgic feeling, there wasn’t much stylistic pleasure for me though. It’s not like it’s genius or something, only clever and very competently executed. I hope these guys come up with something more original next time around, since they clearly have all the know-how necessary.
I strongly recommend the first track to everyone, it could be a hit in some sort of alternative rock parallel reality, it’s juicy and cool, check it out.