Tuesday, June 17, 2014

NEAR EARTH/BROKEN KEY
Split Cassette

A Side
Near Earth is the name of the band. The band's name is a very fitting name because it describes the band's sound; Electricity laced dream pop that references the spacey and cosmic without ever getting too innovative through experimentation, thus keeping the music in space but still "Near Earth".

Hints of Kraftwerk, Duran Duran and the Psychedelic Furs raise their heads as potential influences, but the closest comparison I can make is to a watered down Radiohead from their Bends album era. Sometimes the basslines are little too U2 for my blood too.

This is an absolutely passable and well rounded indie rock side of a split cassette, but it's also music that is nothing to write home about in the grand scheme of things. The melodies, tones, sonic effects and beats sound all too familiar due to their use in commercials for totally average new cars. I keep waiting for a narrative voiceover to appear in the music asking me "Where do you want to go today? The all new Honda Accord" ... The musicians are probably very sincere but their music is accessible and familiar to the point of redundancy. Near Earth doesn't shake me up even though the band is talented and their recording abilities are noteworthy. With all this said, if I was at a bar and these guys were playing, I'd be content... not satisfied, but I'd find it hard to complain. Near Earth are competent musicians, just not adventurous ones.


B Side
The other side of the Cassette is from Broken Key. Broken Key is a lot more dancey. His songs (or better yet, beat vinyets) are short, loose and almost lo-fi in execution. Broken Key can dive into 8 bit territory. His bass drops are heavy and would fit well on a dance floor. Occasionally his melodies become frantic with lots of lots of notes littering the stanzas of his computerized sheet music. On other jams there is a hip-hop vibe. Voice overs interrupt looping drum beats like a DJ Shadow track or a Beastie Boys song. Sometimes the songs are minimalistic, almost too minimalistic and the pinball sound effects don't respond well enough with the core backbeats of the song's structures.

But other times, the looseness allows for some refreshing ideas to emerge. For example, some of Broken Key's melodies feel medieval in scale, like they could be plucked from a Hobbit's lute, except they're played with electronic devices. Broken Key can also hint at being punishingly loud but he's still a little timid to go there full throttle ...

Broken Key all sounds a little amateurish but still intriguing. This half of the release is scatterbrained; the ideas have not been fully thought out in a series. But Broken Key is enduring and more adventurous than Near Earth, and the artist's effort is promising.

All in all, a decent cassette worthy of some summertime airplay.
Listen to and buy the cassette here: http://vwyrdwurd.bandcamp.com/album/93-ep-cold-open-ep
Check out the record label here ---http://www.vwyrdwurd.com/
The Cassette is roughly half an hour long.

--Jack Turnbull

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