Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review: Waypoint - Hollow Ground EP

Let me start off by saying that this review was a nice surprise for me. A very nice surprise. I was asked by Cody Bass, one of the members of Waypoint to do this review after he had read my review for Frameworks (which you can read here), and I was hesitant to do a request until he told me it was post-rock influence indie. At this, my ears perked up, as I've been on a GYBE! kick for the greater part of the last year, and while this release isn't it the same vein as instrumental post-rock bands like Godspeed or Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai, it is an amazing entity; Waypoint is unique, providing a new experience in ambient post-rock, as well as heavier indie music.

This track-by-track is brought to you by my boyish infatuation with bands who know how to use reverb and delay correctly:

"Convinced" - At first, the quick syncopation of the drums reminded me of Edison Glass and La Dispute, which is always nice for an intro, but after the vocals came in, I realized that this was not going to be a run of the mill indie/emo band. And thank god. The vocals are strong, built thick and sturdy like a stallion. This guy definitely has a beard. I've never seen him, but I guarantee he has a beard. The vocals are similar to Balance and Composure on Only Boundaries, and overall sounds like the brilliance that My Epic created over the span of their career. At 2:00, there's an incredible instrumental break, with softly crooned vocals, with the guitars just picking four notes, that expands and unraveled into a beautiful reverb, snare, and high hat-heavy soliloquy, like the band knows something that I don't, and won't tell me. That's the only way I can describe it. What a nice surprise. On to track two.

"Let In" - Following suit with the last song, this track is a bit more poppy, but maintains the integrity set up by the EP's opener. The guitars on this track are more free-range, floating in and out of key, swooping and soaring on their own free will. This track is another ode to the trail that My Epic blazed, but they have improved the best aspects and dropped the undesirable ones. With every crisp, clean higher note, they counterbalance it with a blunt, murky, lower note, adding to the texture and direction of the piece. The drums do the perfect job of complementing the guitars with ferocity and subtlety but never daring to take away from them. A great track with a killer outro, glockenspiel included. Reminiscent of GYBE! I dig.

"Hollow Ground" - Already, this track is incredible. So far, there's Godspeed-esque static and "swirls," and three notes of thick, ambient, reverb-heavy lead guitar. Now the drums are coming in. Shit, this is a great intro. The lead guitar trills at just the perfect times, never too showy or obnoxious, and the rhythm guitar just sticks to the magic that it's working. Nice addition of vocals on this. Fitting, self-indulgent, masturbatory vocals that demand the attention of the listener. The verses still remind me of My Epic and Balance and Composure, which is totally fine by me. The end of the track is perfectly haunting, bringing this EP to a close that is unsettling, but more than unsettling, it begs for more--for resolution.

And I hope we see that resolution on their next effort, because this was incredible. It's not what we usually review, but this band has struck gold for their genre, and deserves their spot on this site by every capacity. Hard-working, honest music made by honest, hard-working Mississippi boys.