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  No Means Yes  
  Two Sheds  
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This is the second or third release from Atlanta rock act, Crybaby. I reviewed their first EP here, and found it enjoyable and full of promise. Then they released a Live CD recorded at The Star Bar, which i never found a copy of. And now, No Means yes.

When i first heard this latest EP, i was a little put off by the "rock" feel. Crybaby are wearing their shoegazer influences less openly, and at first, i admit, it was a bit of a turnoff. But i kept coming back to the EP. I guess it's because they have really solidified as a band, and have matured together nicely.

No Means yes starts off with that noise from "Extended Dynamic Range" cassettes. Anybody who listened to music in the 80's knows what i mean. it makes me smile everytime i put the CD in and that sound plays...

Things get their start with Sick, a decent little pop number. The instruments all sound balanced, and it's really catchy.

Sirens is a little more rock. Vocalist Kelly Sirmans is really belting it out in the chorus. The drumming is exquisite -- Mark Carbone really shines here. What i like best about this song is that CJ Bargamian's guitar still wavers and flows like he is a refugee from a shoegazer act. It's a subtle effect though, not too overdone. Except maybe towards the end, where the entire song gets really busy, with Sirmans screaming, the guitar seesawing away, and the drums thudding. The overall effect of this tune reminds me of something from the post-punk era, although i can't place it any further than that... At any rate, i really like this track.

Sorry is a lovely melancholy tune that starts slow and sultry, with the guitar buried under layers of tremolo. This song really shows Sirmans' voice to its best, and really shows her dynamic range. The song slowly builds to a nice catharsis.

If Given the Chance is a melancholy tune that starts with a very Smiths-like riff. In fact, Bargamian's playing is mostly Marr-like here, while Sirmans vocals fluctuate between sad and screaming. The whole song is full of the blues, and wavers under the weight of sorrow until crashing and becoming a wall of feedback for half a minute or so. It's a nice effect, and i think it works.

Another Feeling is a sleazy blues rock number, raunchy and loud. I seem to remember that when i saw them at Corn-dog-o-rama, this song came across really well on stage. It has that "live" feel to it -- as if the intensity that the musicians pour into the song can't really be captured on tape, and you just need to see it. I think this has something to do with the drumming -- again, Carbone is really beating the tar out of his kit.

When the last note fades out, there is still 4 minutes left. There is about 30 seconds are silence. And then, Crybaby jam out! There is some interesting percussion going on, but for the most part this "hidden track" has the feel of a "studio outtake".... Not great, but not terrible.

On the whole though, this is a coherent and accomplished release. Crybaby are a strong band with a healthy grounding in bluesy rock. Although really, Sirmans' voice has always seemed designed for that style of music. (At least to me...)

One interesting note is that this is a VERY well-recorded EP for a local act. The drums have a nice "live" sound to them, like they were recorded in one very well-done take, and then the rest of the music was played in accompaniment. I dunno if that makes sense, but sometimes it sounds like the drumming is the lead instrument.... And that really works for the band.

But it's not just the drums that are well recorded: Sirmans voice sounds as rich here as it does live. And the guitars and bass are each in their place, neither lost in the mix nor overpowering everything else.

And quite honestly, this is somewhat shocking. Not in a bad way, but in the sense that "If Crybaby can do it, why the heck can't so many other local bands record themselves worth a crap?"

I am serious here people: if you are one of the Atlanta musicians that i have ranted about muddy production on your albums (and you know who you are) go and listen to this release. Then call Crybaby and ask for their help. They seem like nice kids -- i am sure that they can at least explain to you what they did....

Okay, enough of that. My overall verdict: 1 great song (Sirens) + 4 good songs + one studio outtake + excellent production for an Atlanta band = a very good EP.

Now, i wonder why Crybaby will be up to next ....

Related Links:

Crybaby's self-titled debut EP.
Tracers was less impressed with this new sound when they debutted it at the album release show for No Means Yes.


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