The very first
time i saw this band i thought "they seem intersting". The
second time i
thought "wow, good guitarwork and nice vocals". So i wound up
getting their self-titled debut EP.
Their sound is interesting. They have distictly western guitars
(with lotsa tremolo) palyed by CJ Bargamian, a refugee from
Myssouri, who actually played the guitars on that band's Furnace
Songs EP. There is the powerful jazzy voice of Kelly
Sirmans. I say jazzy because, well, she REALLY sings. I mean,
she does not mutter into the microphone or scream , she sings
like she had some training (and i could tell that before i read
it on the bands website! scary -- i'm actually learning to differentiate
things now....) The bass of Todd Oakley and the drumming of
Mark Carbone take a full-on rhythm approach -- like they drive
the stagecoach, and if it ever stops the Apache are gonna scalp
everyone, so keep on riding!
Combine the western guitars and rhythms with the wonderful
singing and you get an interesting mix that seems distinctive.
It seems that there are painfully few people in the Indie Rock
World who actually know how to sing. Kelly
Hogan and Neko Case are two who
come to mind off of the top of my head. Most of the music i
listen to involves vocalists who basically talk in a rhythmic
fashion over the musc. Not that i am complaining -- heck, i
like that rhythmic talking stuff, but hearing Ms. Sirmans belt
out the tunes on this EP reminds me that the human voice can
really be a wonderful instrument, capable of expressing emotion
quite well. It's good to hear someone who knows what they are
This being a five-song EP (in my seemingly endless series of
reviews of EPs this year), let me examine each of the songs
The EP starts off with the song that really drew me in at their
concert. It's called Kaleidoscopic Dreams and features
some wonderful chiming guitar in a sweet little melody. Combine
this with drumming a la Walking on the Moon by The Police,
a good plodding bass line, and Ms. Sirmans nice clear deep vocals
and you get a good 8 minute tune. What i like especially is
the middle of the song, where Ms. Sirmans sings high pitched
over a guitar solo with lots of distortion. There is also a
nice xylophone melody to counterpoint the guitars. This is a
good tune that ebbs and swells. Quite nice. I think this is
the real stand-out track on the EP. It appeals to the shoegazer
in me with it's effected guitar.
Crybaby change pace a little for Blue-eyed Boy, which
is more of an Indie Rock song. It's faster paced and features
really forceful singing that reminds me of Johnette Napolitano
on early Concrete Blonde releases.
The EP's shortest track, the three minute All My Love,
is where drummer Carbone really lets lose. He plays all over
the kit and he really drives this song along.
Things slow down a little for So I Do. Ms. Sirmans sings
through some type of distortion that makes her voice sound hollow
and far away. The guitar is ponderous in moving through the
rhythm. The bridge on this song is really nice -- staccato guitar
and drums combined with a really good bass riff and her suddenly
undistorted voice wailing away.
Crybaby wrap things up with Leave Me. "It's 2 AM," she
sings, as if delerium has set in, the beer has caught up with
us, and it's time to play LOUD AND FAST. This is a pretty passionate
song and is my second favorite on the EP. Gets really punky
at the end with power chords and monotonous drum beats.
On the whole, each of the songs are pretty strong. I would
like to hear the guitar more balanced with the voice -- often
it is a little in the background compared to the vocals. Then
again, Ms. Sirmans has a good enough voice to pull that off,
so i'm not complaining too much.
As i listened to this EP over and over to prepare this review,
an interesting thought occurred to me: there are five songs
and four band members. Each member really shines through and
drives one of the songs: guitars on Kaleidoscopic Dreams,
voice on Blue-eyed Boy, drums on All My Love,
and bass on So I Do. This leaves the final song to sort
of wrap things up -- i think on Leave Me each member,
confident that they have shown their individual strengths, now
works together with the others to create something. I don't
know if this effect was intentional, but on the first four songs
i really do mostly focus on one instrument, and that fifth tune
allows me to step back and see them working together.
So i say that this is a pretty solid debut. It shows much potential,
and i look forward to hearing more from this band.