Ear Pwr – Ear Pwr (Carpark) 23/05/2011

May 20, 2011 by  

North Carolinian electronic duo Ear Pwr, consisting of musician Devin Booze and vocalist Sarah Reynolds, have released their self-titled follow up to their more adolescent 2009 debut “Super Animal Brothers III”. Whereas their debut – which contained a typically hip mixture of retro synth lines bashed around a teasing female vocal – didn’t deliver any real innovation; it raises the question whether their latest effort could produce a much more thought provoking listening experience than their previous release?

Firstly, “Mountain Home” includes an aesthetic atmosphere with rich analogue synth patterns that circle around Reynolds’s alluring vocals, whilst “Baby Houses” revolves around a random trance synth-line that is enlarged by a solid mixture of both live and electronic percussion. “Gypsy Blood” on the other hand relies on a steady beat and delayed electronics which pan out nicely when combined with Reynolds’s hushed vocals – resulting in an almost dream pop soundscape.

Although they are clearly indebted to the playful trip-hop hooks of Cibo Matto and the quirky electronica vibes of Ladytron, there is also a touch of the experimental pop style of Animal Collective – particularly on the wonderfully dreamy “National Parks” which moulds reverberated synths with distant vocals that rise together into a triumphant chorus that is driven along by thumping drum fills. “North Carolina” also utilises this celebratory feel with the use of lively drums, scattered arpeggios and a cheerful vocal that reminisces the affection of the band’s homeland.

“Geodes”, the only instrumental track, features a sweeping synth lead that is backed up with jubilant electronics that neatly progress without becoming self-indulgent; before the record finishes with “Your Life Is Important” – a pleasant album closer which shimmers along merrily with Reynolds emphasising the song’s title throughout.

Ear Pwr’s self-titled second album definitely shows just how much the band has matured from the more twee and goofy ramblings of their debut effort, perhaps as a result of the decision to move from their temporary residence of Baltimore out to the western mountains of their native North Carolina when making this record. It is also the kind of album that requires repeated listens in order to fully appreciate their
newly developed sound that – unlike the more recent trend of gloomy electro-goth – embraces a more upbeat approach of electronica as summed up by Reynolds on “Mountain Home” where she sings, “We’re not like them/ We can’t pretend/ You think we’re dumb?/ Maybe we’re just happy”.

[rating:4]


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