Monday, March 5, 2012

MUSIC REVIEW - Returners

The 2012 self-titled demo by Returners shows us once again that Western New York has a thriving and eclectic music scene. The guitar driven jangle-alterna-pop is a reminder that things can be just as good (or even better) left of the dial.

With guitars directly in front, this album seems to want to grab you, reaching out with the strings and pulling your ears in to direct you to the guitar sound. The songs are rhythmically diverse, not simply the same driving beat over and over, but tempos and rhythms mixed with ostentatious fills and rolls to fill out the guitar pounding. Meanwhile, the bass serves as the anchor of each song. As the guitars and drums move of in spirals of cacophony, the bass keeps it all together. This melange serves for some well built songs.

One short coming, though, is the vocals. Perhaps it is because of the mix, but they are difficult to hear and, when one can discern the lyrics, it's usually something bland or somewhat cliché. Perhaps, as it seems the focus is not on the lyrics, the idea is to ignore them and keep the focus on the guitar sounds. The only other complaint is that the drums could be a little louder in the mix.

Stand out songs here are "Turn", which features a great mix of starts and stops on all instruments and a vocal peel of "do ya wanna?" that reminds one of Fred Schneider for some reason. Additionally impressive is "Mistaken Identity" which starts with a best that made me wonder, just for 3 seconds, if this wasn't a cover of "Billie Jean". Then the guitars come in and make you think, "Why did I ever think that? This is something all togther different, and better".

A good album, though it has more of an autumn feel than a winter or spring. Looking forward to hearing more (hopefully with slightly better mix production).

Where to find them:

RIYL: Bloc Party, The Stay-Lows, Superchunk

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