First off: what the fuck people? How often do i have to say this? You HAVE to tag your files correctly: band name, album name, release year, track name, track order number. EVERY SINGLE SONG. Every one. If you forget one, then suddenly a reviewer is listening to tracks 1,2, 4, and 5 of an EP and wondering why there is no track 3. Learn how to tag your MP3s or hire your 10 year old nephew to do it. It is the 21st century and even though the music that A Very Special Episode make is stuck 30 years in the past, there is no excuse for not distributing your music accurately!
This is the same as if, in the 1980s that you so adore, you recorded some tapes and sometimes put the band name on it and sometimes did not, then handed them out at concerts. You wouldn't do that. MP3s are your current cassettes.
So figure it out, okay? Ugh! This really seems like a no brainer, and yet i keep getting promo MP3s that aren't tagged right...
Okay. Moving on there are 5 songs here, after i finally tracked down the untagged track 3!
The first song is called Gravity. I love the way that the guitars clatter here. Kasey Heisler and Patrick Porter make a wonderful post-punk noise with their dueling guitars. This is fun and dark and moody in the post-punk way. Heisler's voice is a little out front, but it's okay.
The two of them manage to channel Wire on Still Here. One guitar is a grating layer and the other is deeper and bouncing. The vocals that Heisler layers over that are a little dramatic, which makes me think that she is young. But pop music is the area of the young.
Crazy is more new wave than post-punk, more Pretenders than U2. Heisler sings this one in an intentionally quirky way, twisting syllables around. That singing style and the guitarwork remind me of The Undertones in a way. Huh.
Invitation to Delete features a spoken word middle, where the music kind of parts and Heisler goes on a rant about assholes on the internet. It's a decent enough tune.
And finally Heisler really lets go on On Our Own Again. She really wails and the guitar chugs like mid era U2. This is nice, the band really throwing at it.
So, this is not bad. I bet they are fun in concert, but i am going to call out a serious flaw here, one that i see too many bands making. I do not know if Brandon Bujnoski (who recorded, mixed, and produced this) is to blame or if the band insisted on this, but the vocals are WAY over produced. Kasey Heisler's voice is the dominant sound in every single track. It is almost as if she is singing a capella and then there is a band somewhere in the distance.
Wrong. Bad. Do not do this. Sure, Heisler has a good voice and she knows how to use it, but can you at least make some kind of effort to make it sound like the voice is a part of the band? The layering here is just so awful, the voice layered so far out front that it damages the songs. The production style makes this sound not as good as it could. And the thing is, i see this on smaller releases, not on major releases. That tells me that in time bands and producers learn to balance things better.
So the lesson here is one that i have said time and time again: it pays to hire a real engineer who understands production. This type of thing -- the voice layered in front and way louder than the rest of the music sounds amateurish.
Now, aside from the amateurish production and the inaccurate tagging, this is a decent release. I think the band has some talent, and that in time, and with better recording and hiring a 10 year old to tag their MP3 files, they could make worthwhile music.