Searching for Signal – “As If Nothing’s Changing” Album Review
This four piece band which is originally from the musically scarce city of Houston, resides in one the southern capital cities of music, Austin. With this not being the band’s first album there is somewhat of an expectation as to a delivery with comparison to other bands which are starting out.
Though it is hard to define the band as a definite genre or definitive style other than indie, “Said So,” is the indie ballad of this album. The sound that it contains is similar to that of most current mainstream indie bands such as Death Cab for Cutie or Modest Mouse released on their first albums, which is that of a raw production sound. The first albums of up and coming bands usually sound raw, but usually the entire album gives that raw one take sound, while this album does not have it. In the end though it resonates that of the early 2000’s indie sound that was the foundation of what we currently have now, which makes this song sound like that of a tribute. Though its lead guitar does take over the song for a bit, it mainly falls in place playing harmoniously with the rest of the instruments. This example of musical tone is once again seen in mid 2000 bands such as Bloc Party and Arctic Monkeys, in which the main guitar leads the song after the chorus but then returns to the stream of the song to compliment the rest of the instruments.
The vocals are done greatly not shadowing the music nor fading it out but going along with the rhythm and style that the song portrays. Though it sounds as if it is good, at times it can be to flowing with the music and be left behind and sound more like an instrument than vocals. In, “Autopilot,” during the middle of the song there is a point where the vocals while attempting to resonate feeling, are just overcome by the song itself. After the climax of the song we can hear the vocals pick up and be louder than the song itself, taking the lead and attempting to show a feeling and sentiment rather than just pursing the craft of the song. Though in “I Can Barley See My Eyes,” which has that lead guitar once again, there is a small sense of the lack of the flow that “Autopilot,” delivers. After a verse there is a small playful melodic tone which sounds a bit out of place, which is then elongated as the song progresses and gives a bit less of that innocent sound and becomes actual melodic musical tones which carry the song in the right direction. The interlude in the song sounds great and does not merely attempt to continue the song but feels as though it is making it.
Though Searching for Signal had interludes in nearly every song, it is not always a necessity. In Remote Control(“Part 1”) the last minute of the song seems as if it were a forced attachement in order to fade into Remote Control (“Part 2”), which is more climactic. In The Suburbs, Arcade Fire did a two part song called “Sprawl.” The first part is a more shoe-gazer styled song with the lyrics and instruments staying soft and vibrant at the same time all whilst knowing the impact the second part will have. As the first part concludes, the second picks with a similar introduction that the first part ended on but then gets progressively louder and jumps to an upbeat and pulsating rhythm. Half light I and Half light II from the same Arcade Fire album are also in the same scheme of things when it comes to two part songs. In Remote Control all we get is a continuation of the first part with what seems like a forced interlude as a transition.
With the great job that the band does with song climaxes it falls a bit short in “Crisis.” There is an intense build up through the song which then changes rhythm and beats to an even more defined and elaborate scheme that just begins to prepare you for a large leap into something profound and loud and just a pure “Crisis.” That is where the song fails to deliver, though it is not customary for this band to get to loud with their instruments, the build up that they had was too defined and too profound for their conjured climax. This song though, has everything which is the foundation of a band. It has the perfect tone and vocals which sway and move along with the song not being too much or too little. The instruments all work in one unit, though there is still one lead guitar that does lead the song, it does not flow out so much as to cause it to stand out vividly. The beat the drums carries with it is simple and carries the song through, not to mention the bass that keeps the song going after the first small climax transitions to more that deep and immense build up. The heavy influences from other indie bands can be heard here but mainly it sounds original. This is the song that is the foundation and base of this band. It is like the first real actual Searching for Signal song, just like “Champagne From a Paper Cup,” and “Interstate 8,” this song will fall between the cracks at first and later be referred to as the defining song.
Though they still have a few flaws, as every up and coming band does, overall the experience of this album is a mix and culmination of the indie genre in its entirety. This album though not the first is the first step in the right direction. The band has now found their sound, which usually takes a few years to accomplish, and it is a very well defined sound that has sway from others yet it’s still its own. “As If Nothing’s Changing” is the “Whatever People Say, I am Not” or the “Something About Airplanes” of this band, which then leave us to ponder on what refinements they will do in order to take the leap into the direction they wish to go or just indulge in their acquired sound.
Here is the album: searchingforsignal.bandcamp.com
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