Friday, September 10, 2004

The Sames

Two things often pass for "criticism" or fill up space in writing about bands: biography and comparison. Fortunately for you, I can't really rely on these crutches to tell you about Durham's Sames. I can't find out much -- anything, really -- about who's in the band or what they did prior to their 2002 EP (titled E.P.) on Pox World Empire. And my musical knowledge, though fairly broad, is shallow and patchy enough that I can't really slot them into a genre or compare them to other bands. For what it's worth, reviews of the EP cite the Feelies, Pavement (fine, I know them) and mention emo and shoegazer, which doesn't enlighten me, though it may you. A couple of high-concept descriptions from the reviews are "Pavement doing a bunch of Beach Boys songs" and "Wire-meets-Sonic Youth".

All of which ends up as what I would describe as indie guitar-based rock, featuring angular guitar lines more than chord-based riffs. The music is fundamentally pop (which I guess only implies a certain catchiness and accessibility to me), but complicated and darkened by some well-placed dissonance. This is a very solid band making music that I enjoy, though they aren't really doing anything earth-shaking.

MP3: I Wish That You'd Written This Song
MP3: Live My Life For Me
(from E.P., Pox World Empire 2002. Buy )
"I Wish That You'd Written This Song" is probably the standout for me. Nice harmonies. "Live My Life For Me" rocks harder than any of the other songs here, and has more dissonance.

MP3: All We Need Is A Friend
MP3: Snake
These are somewhat less polished, but also a change of pace, especially the electronic/studio textures of "Snake". It's mostly tacked on the beginning and end, though.

MP3: You Are A Ghost
MP3: Homeland Security
(from split-CDR, October 2002.)
These are the least distinctive songs here. Nice enough, but similar tempos and feels -- a little mopy for my taste. An album of this stuff would be too much.

The Sames also have a song on the Pox World Empire Compulation Volume One CD, which is singled out as a highlight in many of the reviews. This is a CD I'll be ordering soon.


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