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Happy Birthday Secret Weapon — Ground Floor Coming Up
((Not on label) no#, 2009, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01

Ground Floor Coming Up Cover art

This Seattle-based band takes an interesting turn away from standard guitar power trio sounds. Certainly more complex (especially rhythmically) than your standard rock fare, they haven’t fetishized that complexity like a math rock band (so many of which are trios). They also haven’t gone in the directions of punk or metal. Instead there are elements of all of these in the sound, with the result being music that is balanced between muso technicality and accessibility. The six tracks on this EP keep things short and sweet, with only one cracking the five-minute barrier, but each one features enough variety to keep the listener’s interest. Brian Baillie’s guitar is the dominant factor, usually grungily distorted and avoiding standard chords, favoring close voicings full of whole step intervals. His voice is more anyone-can-sing David Byrne than a strong instrument in its own right. As befits the mathy inflections, the bass and drums (Isaac Person and Chris Williams, respectively) keep things tight and tricky. A promising taste of what we can hope will be more to come.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Happy Birthday Secret Weapon

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