Split Double 3-inch Mcd
By: Eric Greenwood
Beautiful packaging goes a long way these days. How can you sift through piles of anonymous CD"s without discerning the good artwork from the bad? Appeal to the eye and then to the ears. This split EP certainly appeals to the eye. It"s a double mini-CD packaged in a duo-tone gatefold. Remember the old three-inch mini-CD"s that major labels toyed with back in the eighties when they were trying to replace the seven-inch record? Well, the idea flopped, of course, just like the far superior Betamax fell to VHS (apparently, Americans only like big things; thus, the five-inch CD-single), but Snuff Records has briefly brought it back to life here in glorious form.
The two mini-CD"s contain two songs apiece by Brazen and Kevlar, respectively. Both bands are from Sweden, and both play variations on American post-rock/punk. Brazen"s brand will appeal more to the Slint-inspired emo crowd while Kevlar"s will probably rope in more Dischord fans.
Brazen"s emo is the respectable kind. Seriously. Don"t go scoffing just yet. You know what I mean- the kind of emotional hardcore that actually is frantic and intense, which is not to be confused with all the sappy Saves The Day(s) bastardizing the already malignant term into a poppy mess. Brazen rocks. Think Art Monk Construction bands from the mid-nineties like Lincoln. Screaming vocals with disharmonic guitars, surging percussion, and spastic changes. "Statues And Waifs" is amazing. Very tight. Very angry. Very well done.
Kevlar is more restrained vocally and musically, but it counters with memorable melodies. The music is slightly more dynamic than Brazen"s but it lacks the intensity. The intricate guitar interplay builds into explosive and impressive choruses. It"s all kind of anticlimactic after listening to Brazen"s fiery wrath for ten minutes, though. Perhaps, if you listen to Kevlar"s songs first, then everything pans out emotionally. The instrumental "1888" is a powerhouse of moody, distorted guitars and mountainous rhythms. This is a marked improvement from the band"s Let Me Worry Some More album in 1999. The shadow of Jawbox has diminished to allow Kevlar some room to breathe.
As an introduction to these two fine Swedish bands, you"d be hard-pressed to top this split mini-CD set. The packaging alone will improve your collection aesthetically, and the tunes more than live up to the presentation.