Studying and Carved Our Names in Snow, two bands from Annandale, VA recently released a split together and if you’ve been reading you’ll know that I enjoyed Studying’s EP, “Songs About Leaving Home” a good deal. As far as Carved Our Names In Snow goes, this is my first introduction to their music.
Carved Our Names In Snow:
Carved our Names In Snow’s side of the split showcases the band exhibiting their energetic and powerful playing style, especially so on the drummers behalf who seems to have an affinity for beating the shit out of his cymbals and sounding great while doing it. The vocalist is nice and loud although fairly standard; from half singing to shouting which is expected for the style of music they play which gets the job done. “Facebank” is a mostly instrumental track aside from the end which features the band as well as members of Studying on gang vocals. Everything sounds clear, with the drums again being a standout piece of musicianship on this release. Although at times the output on their side of the split sounds live none of the instruments get lost, not even in the bombastically drumming on some of the more intense parts of these two songs, which in itself has it’s own appeal. It is obvious that their ability to create enjoyable tunes lies not in an attempt to write something structurally perfect but to belt out great jams, sloppy or otherwise. However, Where Carved Our Names in Snow fails to impress is the fact that so many bands out there are doing something similar to these guys; it’s not like it makes the music any less “authentic” or heartfelt but where the band stands is at an intersection of many others who are all pursuing a similar style to the point where it is necessary for a change in content not only in terms of Carved Our Names in Snow but within the scene itself in order to progress. In other words, the songs these guys produce are enjoyable and fun but it would be interesting to see the band branch out while they are still putting out short releases like these.
“The Passing of 34 Days” starts off with a post-rockish kind of vibe. Clean shimmering guitars and builds. It all ends with a gang vocals sing-a-long as the song comes to a close. The song is pretty much everything I enjoyed about their EP, “Songs About Leaving Home” with more of a post-rock flavor that I can only describe as early Mogwai and EITS meeting up to record an emo album. For some, that previous sentence may be an immediate turn off but once it quickly sinks it’s teeth it becomes apparent that this couldn’t be a more welcomed change in sound. Studying attempts to merge these two styles of music together and where they succeed is being able to do this seamlessly. The sound quality is top notch which on compliments the dramatic builds and tender guitar swells allowing the band to be as loud as they can be without sacrificing the short but lulls and quieter moments to poor production. Studying’s side of the split is only one track at just over 8 minutes long that displays this 7 piece band at their most dynamic and climactic making for a great song that I can definitely see being a hallmark of this band’s performance.
The release is a fairly short one being that it is a split but the content of these three songs makes up for the initial feeling of the abruptness of the split. Carved Our Names In Snow was a nice surprise given that this is my first time listening to any of their material and Studying delivers with a solid post-rock inspired song that sees the band moving into new territory.
Overall Rating: (Carved Our Names In Snow): 7.5
Overall Rating (Studying): 8.3
Recommended: Mogwai and EITS vs. Punk.
Released: 7 February 2012