Built By Snow – Noise EP
Fun, energetic indie-pop rock songs that could have been made in the ’80s.
Music made in the ’80s never really struck a chord with me. Since I was born in the latter part of the decade, I didn’t quite pay much attention to the era’s pop music when it was being released (I was, after all, a toddler). But after listening to Built by Snow’s 2007 EP Noise, I was suddenly brought back to the ’80s – and it was better than I remembered.
Built by Snow sounds like a combination of Weezer’s modern, quirky dork-rock and the synth-oriented ’80s band The Cars. Other influences are apparent as well; the driving bass line in Noise’s opening track “Underneath” is very reminiscent of The Strokes. However, Built by Snow differs from the garage band sound of The Strokes with their use of three-part vocals. “Underneath” is a perfectly catchy opener to the EP, and is a good indicator of what is to come in the remaining songs.
In the next song, “Radio,” the chorus is the main attraction. The use of synthetic keyboard here would remind any listener of the ’80s, no matter when they were born. The song is easy to sing along with after one or two listens, which made it enjoyable and fun for me to listen to in my car.
“Sleeping Machines,” however, is a definite standout track on Noise. It has a somewhat slower tempo, but with a strong and steady pulse, it is perfect to nod your head along to. The eerie, bare chorus varies greatly from the rest of the EP, and the lines, “we are kids with no dreams, we are sleeping machines,” are also a step away from the mostly-cheerful feel the other songs have.
This song transitions into the lighthearted “Juliana,” which makes for a bit of an odd contrast, but is irresistible nonetheless. It spotlights the guitar and sounds less ’80s than some of the other songs, like “Drag Away.”
Overall, this first EP from the Austin-based group shows a lot of promise. Built by Snow’s Noise is recommended for anyone with an affinity for pop from the past and who doesn’t shy away from accessibility.