Friday, April 19, 2013

Album Review: Their / They're / There - Their / They're / There

Album Rating: B+
Their / They're / There's EP is essentially the creation of indie punk. Mike Kinsella of Owen joined together with Evan Weiss of Into It. Over It and Matthew Frank of Loose Lips Sink Ships to hang out and play some music, and it turned into this six-track indie gold. The record uses the past musical experiences of three very large names in indie rock and meshes them wonderfully, with creatively progressive rhythms and melodies that more than tip their hat toward emo bands of the 90's.

The musical style featured is a composition of the three respective musicians' field of expertise. Weiss brings some tight bass riffing, as well as a taste of pop-punk to brighten the group's sound. Kinsella is able to keep up beautifully on the drums, and brings a sensitive touch to the group, with his soft indie sensibilities. Finally, Frank brings a large presence of off-beat rhythmic genius, with his creativity in terms of syncopated rhythms  and guitar lines that are far too complicated to be moving at the pace they do.

With a strong grasp of what they want to create and a variety of techniques at their fingertips, it comes as no surprise that the track listing features tracks that both prominently display power as well as ones that shy away from their initial preppy introduction on the album. "Their / They're / Therapy" opens very strongly, and is followed by two tracks much of the same, but "Apocalypse (Not Right) Now" begins to roll the punk back a little more, in favor of quality melodies very much reminiscent of American Football, but at a much quicker rate. The track opens with Frank throwing out some noise on guitar, which somehow turns into an incredibly complex melody that syncs beautifully with Weiss's flawless bass line, and Kinsella locking the whole thing in with rhythms that don't overpower, but bring the force necessary to keep the song flowing. This song, along with "Concession Speech Writer," are unfortunately the only two songs where Weiss has bass parts that bring real interest in terms of melody. While it's important to have a bass line that holds the rhythm, Kinsella does a very fine job of this on the drum kit already, and Weiss's talent as a bass player is clearly evident in each of these songs.

Matthew Frank is an interesting one to place. His skill on guitar is unquestionable, but it's the empathetic side that varies from song to song. Some of the lines are powerfully emotional, like in "End And End," and these lines are beautiful, bringing out sensitivity in the choir vocals towards the end of the song and rounding the album out wonderfully. However, his melodies in "Concession Speech Writer" feel a bit harsh, being one of the more lighthearted songs on the album. The effects ring out in an odd fashion, sometimes creating dissonance where there shouldn't be. When he plucks away quietly during Weiss's vocal verses, it creates a softer air during the song, but at select moments, Frank pushes a little harder than he should.

Despite the nitpicking, the album is a pretty unique one, and very technically sound. That's probably the part that surprised me most; usually indie rock sounds very casual, and push gently along with an essentially metronomic rhythm line. Not only does Their / They're / There surpass those expectations as far as ingenuity goes, but even with all of their complex rhythms, everything is deftly placed and each note is articulate. Because of this, the album will not only appeal to pop-punk and indie fans, but also fans of math rock, or even prog. And the emotion behind the songs, ever present in any project Kinsella has ever been a part of, is something consistently relatable for everyone.

The album is released tomorrow, on Record Store Day! Watch the band's Facebook page for more information, which should be coming soon.

Track Listing:
1) Their / They're / Therapy
2) Concession Speech Writer
3) Fit Your Life Into A Grid
4) Apocalypse (Not Right) Now
5) 572 Cuthbert Blvd
6) End And End

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