Underworld, London, UK - 21/5
Latitudes & Longitudes
Written by: PP on 07/04/2012 04:50:41
Let me just start out by saying that there are a whole lot of bands like Signals Midwest. Just from the top of my head I could probably name dozens, if not outright hundreds of bands who have drawn from the gold mine of an indie-flavored soundscape and explosive, hardcore-driven vocals of Bear Vs Shark over the last five years or so. But the difference between all those bands and Signals Midwest is the amount of conviction and flair that they exhibit on their sophomore album "Latitudes And Longitudes". It isn't your typical Jawbreaker / Hot Water Music / Small Brown Bike inspired album with Bear Vs Shark influence thrown in for good measure; it's an album where Castevet's post-rock approach to post-hardcore meets math rock and the explosive style of Bear Vs Shark in a rainbow flavored cocktail of awesome tunes, melodies, and a quirky lyrical universe.
Quite simply put: Signals Midwest is the best band in the Bear Vs Shark club I've encountered since the demise of the underappreciated legends. While much of this can be attributed to the characteristic, rough-around-the-edges distortion of their guitars and the gruff, beard-punk style hollers of their vocalist that range from infectiously catchy melodies to halfway screamed explosion points, the one thing that sets Signals apart from the rest are the lyrics. "I Was Lost", for instance, states:
"Thoughts become words, become actions, become habits, become cycles you get stuck in, so lets leave we can eat when we're hungry, we can sleep when we're tired, we can live the way we want to. Lets get lost."
before simply asking "but is here any better than there?" in a powerful and meaningful message that questions whether it really helps to move away from a routine-based life to another one with merely different routines. it's but one example of a story-based and somewhat more intellectual lyrical universe than you're used to with other bands who sound just like them.
Moreover, the addition of mathy guitars, unusual tempo shifts, unpredictable gang vocals, and sublime start-stop melodies ensure that instrumentally, there's always something intriguing going on with Signals Midwest. In fact, it feels almost wrong to associate them with punk rock because of their constantly visible desire to swim against the stream when it comes to melodically ringing punk rock. Yes, bands like Timeshares, Restorations, and countless others do similar stuff as Signals Midwest here, but they just sound...different, and hence, fresh and original. Basically, if there's one album you should take away with you from the first couple of months of 2012 that isn't The Menzingers' latest record, this one should be it.
Download: I Was Lost, In Tensions, Family Crest
For the fans of: Bear Vs Shark, Timeshares, Restorations, Castevet
Release date 10.01.2012