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The Loudest Birthday Ever

The Autumn-Waking
The Loudest Birthday Ever EP
(Tense Forms)

Take two friends and a practice space above a taco joint, mix in a bunch of borrowed equipment and a partially-busted 8-track tape recorder. Stir it all together (during a Midwest winter no less) and amazingly enough the final product is remarkably similar to what you might expect The Loudest Birthday Ever to sound like. At times fragile and at others brutal, it's the sound of two people working out their thoughts in a place where the weather changes as quick as feelings.

Despite the somewhat auspicious beginning, this little EP drags you along kicking and screaming, but it's a fun ride to take. The disc opens with super skronky organs and guitars over raining cymbals before the whole thing stumbles forward with a rugged determination and singer Allison Stanley adds clear and pointed vocals over it all. It all drops off to near silence at one point, then comes all slamming back just as you think it's going to stay all pretty sounding. "Copywright" opens up with a see-saw organ and more warm vocals by Stanley before all hell busts loose again.

"Under The Maude Moon" takes things in a slightly different direction, moving along completely subdued with quiet percussion, guitars and vocals before breaking off into a passage with a field recording. As you may have guessed, it doesn't stay silent forever, and guitars, organ, and drums all come roaring back in sounding like they've been pushed through about 3 compressors too many (in a good way). On "Simulating The Haystack," Joshua Dumas takes lead vocals and after a slightly over-dramatic opening the track shifts into a beautiful lull before taking off. Mashing influences delightfully, the group sometimes sounds like a cross between Rainer Maria and Slint, while at others they simply sound like that band who makes such a beautiful racket as you drive by the open window of their practice space. Somehow, the duo (with some help from friends) have packed an amazing amount of dynamic tension into 5 songs and a tight 25 minutes. It wanders at times, but always comes back around again, setting up tension perfectly before letting loose with an assault of noise. It's like a raw and rugged cousin of Emo that wants to move you without aiming for the tearducts.

Rating: 7.75