Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

The Anthem Sound-Four Sounds EP

September 1, 2007

Band Name: The Anthem Sound

Album Name: Four Sounds EP

Best Element: Seamless melding of Indie-rock with experimental elements

Genre: Indie-experimental

Website: http://www.theanthemsound.com

Label Name: Hello My Name is Records

Eyeball Records

Picking up an album by a band named The Anthem Sound, one would expect, perhaps, punk anthems with fist-raising choruses overflowing with political angst… a crack recipe for home-brewed teenage hormones and mall-store media-fodder music. Fortunately, one would also be completely wide of the mark. The Anthem Sound’s Four Songs EP is anything but sophomoric; it is, rather, an intelligent melding of indie-rock and experimental music.

A snippet of an interview—one discussing change and holding onto the past—leads into the explosive, encompassing rush of “Your Lullaby.” The opening song develops a split personality, waging war with itself as it alternately overwhelms and waxes introvert. I appreciated the thoughtful production, the flow between indie-rock and experimental that “Your Lullaby” represented: its structure mimics the tension of the introductory quote; its form flows from this expression of uncertainty. Intelligent design meets music… bravo!

The sleeper hit on this album, “Lunar,” is driven by an irresistible drum-line that’s simultaneously straightforward and dancey. The bass-line triplets its way beneath the alternating snare and ride, as either Evan Fixell or Ethan Grove croons “What do we know for sure / you can’t be trusted ever, can you?” Soon after, the other joins in, doubling the vocals before moving into a call-echo section. The interwoven lyrical lines then reconvene, emphasizing the chorus of muddy, crashing guitars. The interplay of voices over a simple yet catchy drum and bass-line works brilliantly.

“The Promise” follows a similar formula: restrained, straightforward drumming draped over a wandering bass-line. The song opens with a quiet, continuously strummed electric guitar and what sounds like a computer-generated blipping which serves to set the tempo. The verse of “The Promise” details a relationship aching for warmth: “Wrapped in black with you / I hear these shirts and scarves we bought keep us warm, keep you warm / I dressed checkered sheets, oh how you kick me when you sleep…” The chorus, however, remains hopeful, as Fixell and Grove trade-off lead and echo-lines, singing “While I’m gone I’ll keep you under my pillow / dreams that were drifting through days / say you remember my words, make this promise a record.”“The Promise” is The Anthem Sound’s anthem: a slow-core promise for better things to come.

“Poised to Conquer” delves into the band’s political underpinnings, opening with a news-feed about intercontinental ballistic missiles, and driving through cries “I’m sitting on my father’s shoulders looking down at the oblivious earth below pointing to a falling star approaching but it hits the ground.” Written-out like this, it doesn’t carry the levity produced when combined with The Anthem Sound’s emphatic vocals and wailing guitars, but their concern comes through clearly. “Get ready…” they warn, “ready for destruction…”

For an EP, Four Songs speaks volumes to The Anthem Sound’s musical future. Pressing out the horizons and re-tuning the definitions of two sounds until they encompass one another, The Anthem Sound has a lot of work to do… but they’re ready for it.

—Timothy C. Avery

the_kitchen_sinks@yahoo.com

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

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