Rapid Fire Reviews – 5/20
Posted: by Sean Gonzalez
All People – All People
All People is like the sprinkle of energy that flows through your veins after your morning coffee. A project birthed into existence by Community Records’ co-founders, the group utilize a plethora of instruments to pack an explosive punch to their sound. A collection of synthesizers were used to capture a unique punk rock vibe. Vocalists (and Community Records Owners) Greg Rodrigue and Daniel Ray trade off duties on the microphone to add their own dazzle to songs. Structurally speaking, All People shine in their ability to cohesively intertwine dynamics from part to part. A trombone even makes its way through songs, flowing between six different synthesizers, guitars, bass and drums. “Balloon” captures the instrument in the best light, adding a somber tone to the already relaxed composition. Other songs are driven by upbeat pulses of vigor and a swarm of syncopated melodies, like “Plain Essential Language” and “Moonsteps.” The latter track is an album highlight; with a pounding bass — essentially leading the groove onwards — taking a chunk of the mix while guitars and drums try to cut through it. The synthesizers organize everything together much like a conductor leading an ensemble. The best thing about All People is how the New Orleans outfit are able to weave multiple movements together into one almighty strike (“Start Again”). It’s nine songs and under a half hour, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t kick you awake in the morning.
Blessed – Blessed EP
Post punk with smokey atmospheres? Check. Powerful vocals spewing over fuzzy syncopated rhythms? Check. A progressive take on disjointed accents and catchy tunes? Check. Blessed hail from Vancouver and magnify their small punk sound to capture more than simple chord structures and battering vocal deliveries. Their guitar work bounces licks off of one another rather well, evident in the song “Cop.” The instrumental pause between the desperate vocal cries showcase a funked out rhythm twisting around the drums and bass. This type of layering gives the music a bit of a trance heavy feel, really making the frantic vocals have more of a weight when they crash back into the mix. The fact that each of Blessed’s tunes range over four minutes exemplifies how willing they are to sacrifice their angst for more intelligently crafted progressions. Their maturity is only the beginning. “Repossess” hops from loud, fuzzy choruses to sputtering verses without ever feeling out of place. This style of art punk is hard to paint, but Blessed will catch listeners off guard.
Thin Lips – Riff Hard
Riff Hard they said. Well, Philly’s Thin Lips listened AND did just that. Behind Chrissy Tashjian’s indicative prose are raw, emotive indie rock songs tackling the inner struggles of Tashjian’s mind. “DEB” and “Never Gain” spring out of the gates on being in new relationships. It’s a scary field to wander, feeling directionless and without any markers to mentally figure out where one actually is. “I’m not happy, cause I’m not the girl I used to be,” cries Tashjian on the former. After gathering a few more thoughts — along with thumping chord progressions — “Never Again” rushes to the conclusion, “I don’t know how to feel about you, it’s been so many years since you called me your own.” It’s an expression of doubt and rightfully should be. Honestly, what’s captivates me about Thin Lips is the biting imagery or realism that comes with any sort of connection between people. Riff Hard seems to play out a bit like a concept record, outlining the initial feelings before feeling empty bodied and wondering what everything means. The music plays out a bit like a more gritty Diet Cig and close along the musical compositions of Hop Along, relying heavy on chords and scratchy guitars to help narrate the tears in Tashjian’s mental frame. The band knows how to make moments explode, such as the winding down beat down of “Andy Weed.” Or there is the beckons of “Yup” that immediately capture the listeners attention with loud, abrasive tension. After nine songs and 24 minutes, we find some resolve, finding the relief in the bottom of a bottle more soothing than anything in “Breaking Up And Breaking Down.” It’s an unwrapped mind that comes after relentlessly fighting the inner self, and coming to terms with letting go. It was seen from the start where it needed to end up, and it did, but it felt so therapeutic to hear it happen.