Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Arms Worth Bearing

July 2, 2009

Standish Arms’ fourth release, There’s a Distinct Possibility That I’ve Never Woken Up, is best described as quiet indie rock. Supposing the band brainstormed and decided on one word to define their album’s sound, the word “haunting” surely would have been the word circled and highlighted. Most of the time the EP achieves this. Especially fine moments include the opener’s backdrop of cello and interspersed flute, and “The Weak Voice on the Phone,” which sparkles with a rising violin melody.

The songs flow well into each other, buffered by minimalist sound effects that create a stark, desolate canvas. These atmospheric moments create a fluid album, making it hard to tell where one song ends and another begins.

The charm is broken at times when the lyrics pollute the beautiful piano and cello lines. The attempt to reach notes clearly out of the vocalist’s range breaks the otherwise melancholy mood. Lyrics and notes the vocalist can hit and hit well would do a lot for this album.

Overall, the musicianship is impressive, as is the songwriting. Good songwriting matched with beautiful symphonic backdrops creates a dynamic sound worth hearing.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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