Despite my love for my hometown, I am well aware
of Austinís wavering, overrated music scene. For every band
here with a spark of creativity, there are a hundred that
are reheating Stevie Ray Vaughanís and Janis Joplinís
leftovers and serving them to an audience too drunk to notice
or care, and another hundred that are trying out all the trendy
emo, rock, or pop formulas on an audience too young and self-conscious
to know any better. Every once in a while, though, you may
stumble across one of those one-in-two-hundred bands that
offer a glimmer of hope in our fading utopia. And then thereís
Endochine. Endochine doesnít glimmer. They donít pat
your head and stroke your hand and tell you that everythingís
going to be ok, that weíll all live happily ever after. Endochine
fills your ears, steals your heart, and brings you into their
gritty, sometimes painful, sometimes pleasurable, reality.
With their debut album, i, this young
band didnít waste any time on finding their sound and strengthening
it; they simply cut to the chase and blasted onto the scene
with the confidence and integrity of seasoned veterans. Independent
yet accessible, they exude energy and aggression without sacrificing
melody or clarity. Their sound is an aural montage of their
musical heroes, including a little bit of Sketches-era
Jeff Buckley, a little Pink Floyd, a little
Led Zeppelin, a little Jimi Hendrix, and of
course (oh no, here it comes, the way overused comparison
to) early Radiohead. Interestingly, they carry with
them just enough of an Austin flavor to set them apart from
Americaís current trendy sounds, but not near enough to lock
them into the worn out Austin Band Cliché. And yet,
their greatest strength lies in the voices of the two lead
singers: each voice powerful, flexible, pure, and clearóyet
unbelievably, their harmonies transcend their individual talent,
rising to an almost spiritual level; the sum truly is greater
than its parts.
The album kicks off with "Overjoyed,"
a catchy and energetic good riddance carol where vocalist
Casey McPherson shows off his impressive set of pipes
and promises more good things to come. The frenetic, angst-driven
"Suffering" Ė the closest Endochine ever comes to
stadium rock Ė gives Nathan Harlan a chance to display
his from-the-gut vocal stylings. "Why Not" continues
the passion and introduces the haunting harmonies as it questions
stifling rules that have no logical reasoning behind them,
then "My Home" slows down to a pensive stroll before
"Nobodyís Laughing" shrieks in bitter pessimism:
Pull the trigger and Iíll never have to know Iím alone.
"Discover" is a hectic, dour criticism that would
make Thom Yorke proud. Things slow down a bit for "Fire"
and "Cry," but then "Collapse" comes in
with feverish intensity in which they really do mean it when
they say, I could collapse you, I could die before Iím
done. On the heels of such heat comes the cool, sexy "Look
Away," then the last song, "Darkness Comfort,"
is a hollow, aching, bare-breasted melody of gothic beauty.
And then, just when you think itís over, just when you think
that the whole album is serious and deep, they throw in a
bonus trackóan off key, rowdy tavern chorus about their wild
(and probably not fictitious) adventures in a cheap hotel
called Bel Air.
My only complaint with i is that the
production isnít what it couldíve been, but thatís forgivable
considering that they are local, and self-funded. Overall,
their deep personal friendships with each other translate
into an incredibly tight sound that grabbed my attention and
didnít let go for the full 45-minute playtime, and left me
- Emily Strong
- Why Not
- My Home
- Nobody's Laughing
- Look Away
- Darkness Comfort
Bonus track--Bel Air Hotel
in the webboard
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