Spring Songs EP
Don’t let the name fool you: Spring Songs is definitely not a collection of cheery toe-tappers from the usually gloomy Kingston, Pennsylvania, four-piece. Nope, the plodding four-track EP carries on right where 2012’s Floral Green left off, exploring more of the sludgy, ruminating neo-grunge and Jawbreaker-esque ’90s punk that’s become the band’s hallmark. Like on Floral Green, producer/mixer/mastering maven Will Yip (Man Overboard, Circa Survive) took the helm from behind his beloved Neve console, so the songs sparkle and radiate analog warmth, while the performances are rich and inventive. But if there’s a failing with the record, it’s the forgettable opening and closing tracks, “Blush” and “Hypnotize,” which fit the sonic part, but zip by without much lasting impact. Luckily they’re saved by strong middle tracks: the fuzzy, smoldering “Be A Toy” and the mournful “Receiving Line,” which shivers with dissonant, ringing chords over an earthy rhythmic pulse.