Album Reviews, Headlines

Review: Save Ends – Warm Hearts, Cold Hands

saveendsTaking a cue from early Saves the Day, Get Up Kids and The Anniversary, Boston’s Save Ends is a wonderful and energetic throwback to the glory years of early Vagrant-era post-emo, pop-fused punk. Warm Hearts, Cold Hands is a wonderful mix of everything that era did well; uptempo melodies, melancholic tones, harmonic vocals and a sense of “growing up” within the songs.

Save Ends features dual male/female vocals that work in unison to give the songs an added texture. Christine Atturio’s voice comes across similarly to how Jolie Lindholm’s did during her time as vocalist for grossly underrated band The Rocking Horse Winner. The songs on Warm Hearts come across as a mixture of Atturio-directed sentimentality (the great “Chasing Embers”) and the Hot Rod Circuit-esque (“Kurzweil”), while tracks like “Song of Susannah” could have been a cut off Designing A Nervous Breakdown or a highlight from a Rainer Maria album. The album opens with the humorously titled “Punkorama 30”, giving credence to the band’s self awareness and lineage, and quickly ascends to fast-paced melodic punk, setting the tone and energy for the rest of the release’s vastly oscillating styles and tones. Much of which results in one of the most rewarding listens we’ve come across this year.

There’s a lot to like about this record, and while the sounds can be a throwback to music from a decade ago, Save Ends aren’t just about sounding like their influences. For those who grew up with mid to late 90s emo, Save Ends are what would become of the sound, and liking this record is about more than just nostalgia- it’s about realising the long lasting resonance of that time and how well this band is able to capture and emote this aural atmosphere.

Falling snow, reflections of Massachusetts, and the pull of the heartstrings are the things Save Ends write home about. And Warm Hearts, Cold Hands is the finest entry into the genre in a very long time.

[rating=4]

 

Save Ends’ Warm Hearts, Cold Hands is out on Tiny Engines November 12th. You can preview and purchase the record via the stream below:

[hr]

Advertisements
Standard
Album Reviews, Headlines

Review: Signals Midwest – Light On The Lake

lightonthelake1There is just something painfully beautiful about the music of Signals Midwest; Cleveland’s answer to the melancholia of punk’s late 90s and early 2000s where bands like Small Brown Bike, Appleseed Cast and American Steel carved their niche.

Signals Midwest are like those bands in a way, but unlike the sometimes heavy burden of an Appleseed Cast song, much of Light On The Lake gives the listener a light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope in these tunes, and while singer Max Stern seems to write with a heavy heart, the emotional resonance of these songs is set to more than just one tone. Take the song “St. Vincent Charity” as example; it starts off in the bleakest of Midwestern emo colours; downtrodden, midtempo and coated with Stern’s striking voice. Yet a few minutes into it, the band have taken us from the doldrums to a distinctly more upbeat, Frank Turner-esque folk vibe, before barrelling full steam ahead in more traditional punk rock mannerisms. It’s utterly fantastic.

“The Desert to Denver” is a great example of the band’s relentless and razor sharp amalgamation of fury and emotion. They tend not to settle on one musical journey and as songs like “An Echo, A Strain” (with its soaring whoah-ohh choral treatment) and “Caricature” (with its light American Football-esque opening) prove, they aren’t interested in being pigeonholed into one genre or style.

There is grace and there is chaos in music, and Signals Midwest, guised in punk rock roots, have painted one of the most interesting and compelling records in recent times. If beauty in music is found in songs like “Greater Plains”, then its counteracting movement is exhibited in “A Room Once Called Yours”. There is frustration, sadness, anger, urgency and poise in this Light On The Lake, and the results are engaging to say the least.

Highly recommended.

[rating=4]

 

Listen to “St. Vincent Charity”:

[hr]

Signals Midwest’s Lights On The Lake is out now via Tiny Engines.

Standard