The Speed Of Sound In Seawater

Underwater Tell Each Other Secrets

Written by: TL on 26/09/2011 14:29:35

The third EP from California quintet The Speed Of Sound In Seawater, called "Underwater Tell Each Other Secrets", is a record that comes along with a lot of little things that make it immediately intriguing. Before even listening to it, it's hard not to think "hey, that's a pretty cool bandname, and a pretty catchy title as well", and then there's the eye-catching, rather untraditional cover, and the fact that the band comes highly recommended by fellow promising Californians A Lot Like Birds.

When you do listen, it also quickly becomes clear that TSOSIS don't have the sound of any sort of generic band either. Immediately you'll notice complex, mathy guitar riffs, racing up and down the fretboard's, which bring to mind bands all the way from Damiera to Dance Gavin Dance. "Underwater.." is a somewhat calmer record than anything either of those bands have made though, as can be heard in the mostly clean guitar sound, and the soft indie/emo vocals (I'm thinking Everyone Everywhere here). I can't say I'm omniscient in the genre, but a quick round of google-catch up gives me the impression that bands like This Town Needs Guns, Algernon Cadwallader and Look Mexico are probably all good references.

The five songs on the disc all twist and turn with guitar notes constantly flying all over the place, and with rhythms changing unpredictably and often. It makes for a cool, experimental listen, albeit it also a somewhat unstructured one, which requires you to be on the edge of your seat to keep up attention-wise. Depending on how you look at it, this is likely the band's main 'problem'. If they prefer to keep things indie and under the radar, then the odd songwriting is the kind of thing that will help them stay in their niche, and appeal specifically to the type of fan that likes things out of the ordinary. If they want to refine themselves into a more potent band, capable of thrilling dorks and more casual fans alike, I think they need to write songs more like the last two though. "The Huge Wheel" and "Or So He Sphinx" seem no less intricate than the three preceding songs, but they make more of a lasting impression via a couple of repeated refrains. Granted, this is one of the easier ways to fix listener attention, but still I think it's a small step in a good direction for a band that may otherwise have a little bit too much ADHD in their compositions. All things considered, "Underwater.." strikes me mostly as a cool niche record, featuring a band that does however have a few hurdles to clear to make a lasting name for themselves.


Download: The Huge Wheel, Or So He Sphinx (or the whole thing, as a 'name your price' deal)
For The Fans Of: Damiera, Look Mexico, This Town Needs Guns, Algernon Cadwallader

Release Date 27.04.2011

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