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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Burns Out Bright
Distance and Darkness EP
Deep Elm Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

October 1, 2004
I'm going to make a seemingly ridiculous and fanciful comparison now, and claim that Burns Out Bright's Distance and Darkness EP is what Velocity Girl might sound like if they were punk. True, they've got the Columbia scene behind them, and owe as much to the Get Up Kids and Hey Mercedes, but I can equate many of their tracks to something off of Simpatico!, linked by jangly guitars and precious melodies.

"Crowded Streets" starts out like "Sorry Again", with an intensely strummed power chord breaking into an infectious chorus. Granted, Burns Out Bright plays a lot harder, with aggression and pop-punk aesthetic, but is no less sincere. It tastes like a confection wrapped in a torn, brown paper bag. It looks rough and damaged from the outside, but it's as sweet and reflective as Ms. Sarah Shannon.

"Our Proudest Moments" finds its counterpart in "There's Only One Thing Left to Say", with a stinging-yet-jaunty guitar line and the sugary intelligence of jangle pop. As it tumbles into an electric mess, it sounds as if Saves the Day were more inspired by Sub Pop than Lookout or Epitaph. There is a real brilliance in their incorporation of such lively, pretty subtexts, in that it gives pop-punk a much needed stimulation. Drawing energy from such a different source makes their work exciting.

"Watership Down" and "Something I Can Steal" are a little tougher to equate, sounding like Hey Mercedes, through and through, but recognizing that those fellows are no strangers to melody themselves. "Watership Down" is, admittedly, not as strong of a track, but more because it lags in the middle than any lack of inspiration [save for the song title, which as been used extensively by other bands]. Likewise, "Steal" feels a little labored, but makes up for it in a sincerely catchy, lofty refrain.

"Twenty-Two" is affected and slow like "Hey You, Get Off My Moon", and just as sadly haunted. Its minimalist instrumentation highlights the hollow, bitter vocals, and the power of pushing someone away. Whereas Velocity Girl's take ended in conclusive heartbreak, Burns Out Bright depicts the feeling of futile, out-of-place hopefulness. It's rare something as usually derisive as pop-punk portrays something so complex, "Twenty-Two" is a rare expression.

"Prodigal" is a loud, spiked likeness of "Tripping Wires", partially reminiscent of Schtazi, as well, with all their giddy confidence. The track does grow a bit darker, as vocals draw out in length and lamenting candor. The melody plays up tempo, but broken singing reveals a different story in both cases. Again we are reminded, this is not an EP content to remain one-dimensional, nor is it another carbon copy. It is precisely these two facts that make Distance and Darkness so refreshing and rewarding.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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