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More Instruments = Thicker, Richer Sound

Get Here And Stay

After hearing several of their releases, one of the problems that I always had with 764-Hero was that they just didn't sound very fleshed-out. Sure, they could write catchy songs and their stripped-down sound of only two instruments (the guitar and drums, with an occassional guest) was interesting, but stretched over lengths of entire albums, they just didn't have enough depth to hold my interest for the entire time. On Get Here And Stay, though, the group has added another musician to their arsenal (as well as having the guest players for a fair amount of songs) and the addition to their overall sound is one of leaps and bounds.

In regards to overall sound, the group is going to inevitably be compared to other upper-northwest artists (and groups on the UP label), and I'm going to do the same damn thing. They've got the jangling guitars and bass of Modest Mouse combined with some of the somewhat nasal vocals of Doug Martsch (of Built To Spill), while even managing a few keyboard-injected songs that recall a bit of Quasi. If you've heard older work by the group, think nearly the same in terms of structure, but much more rich in terms of execution.

The disc starts off with some slower, steady drumming on the longer "Loaded Painted Red," before nicely complimenting bass and guitar parts. It's the two-part vocals that are the real highlight in the track, though, and John Atkins voice ranges from breathy to whining, showing off better range than ever. "History Lessons" takes off right away and builds up to a full chorus replete with hand-clapping (and doesn't that really make any track better?) and some undulating guitars.

The group really changes up styles on the ballad-like "Calendar Pages." Stripped-down to only a guitar and some shimmering drums, the group manages to use the same instruments that they have for albums before and go still another direction. It's stark and different, and quite pretty. After the great up-tempo "Ottawa Dropout" and the somewhat sneering "Watch The Silverware," they again slow things down with "Get Alone." The slowly-progressing track is quite possibly the most-effective one on the disc with the use of organ and more amazing vocals by Atkins.

Closing out the album is the very strange (for 764-Hero) echoed drums and lead-bass sound of "Typo," another good rockin' track in "Stained Glass," and the slower closer "Coastline." The latter track again strips things down, and this time it's only guitar, vocals and piano. Overall, the album is a great step for the group. They still show off their ability to write catchy songs, but they've added a considerable amount of depth to their songs, as well as trying several new styles on the release, nearly all of which work. If you've heard their other releases and enjoy them, or like the "upper-Northwest non-grunge sound" (even though I dislike throwing groups into categories), you should check it out.

Rating: 7