Less Than The Needle, More Than The Shotgun
By: Eric G.
You might think The Pacific Ocean would be all introspection and no rock with its members coming from a band like Containe, but Less Than The Needle, More Than The Shotgun features some truly astounding guitar work from ex-Versus drummer Ed Baluyut. Bassist Connie Lovatt’s light, choirgirl vocals float above sparse acoustic and electric guitars pinned against dramatic percussion. Baluyut keeps things from falling off the brink into self-indulgent oblivion with charged up guitars that blast out of nowhere just at the right moments.
The Pacific Ocean crosses heavily trodden terrain with this follow-up to the Birds Don’t Think They’re Flying EP, but this is a genre that evidently just won’t die. The slow pacing and the soft singing aside, the music is well-crafted and, thankfully, avoids the overly tinny production typical of contemplative indie pop. Lovatt’s voice is shy and submissive, so lyrics like “back behind just another fucked up delta” catch you somewhat off guard. When the songs actually do rock out (usually after a considerable build up) you are not only surprised but also relieved.
“Atlas” breaks the mold early with upbeat, jangly guitars and singsong vocals, and Baluyut comes through with some beautiful guitar noise. The band immediately shifts gears back to slow motion on “Tripod”, but the song works through its trudging tempo to bask in a climactic wash of guitars even if it’s only for a moment. “Ring” resembles some of Tsunami’s finer moments. Lovatt’s voice sounds stronger here- less guarded, and Baluyut’s guitar playing is superb.
In addition to his stellar guitar work, Baluyut provides back-up vocals, which harmonize well with Lovatt’s often-timid intonations, particularly in “I Can’t Replace A Thing.” He takes on lead vocals for “Story Before Me” and sounds uncannily like Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore. Baluyut’s guitars balance the sometimes-plodding tempos with bracing and melodious rock. Less Than The Needle, More Than The Shotgun is an unexpected surprise full of intricate melodies and textured, dynamic indie rock.