Music News

Signal to Noise

When bands in the '90s like Grade and Boy Sets Fire first employed a jarring mix of tuneful whining and cathartic screams, it felt like a smack in the face -- the good kind. Since then, the recipe's become as rote as reality TV, with the same sense of fabricated melodrama. Stop When the Rain Starts, the sophomore EP by Signal to Noise, is saddled with the same histrionic dynamic, but instead of sounding cliched, the clashing vocals of Tim Cleary and Tristan Shaffer come off as engagingly familiar. Part of the reason is Shaffer's ability to meet his counterpart halfway, moving from smooth harmonies to clashing shrieks and back without a hint of contrivance. Of course, the music itself -- a fusion of rock-injected emo and progressive hardcore that rivals the epic intensity of Pretty Girls Make Graves -- doesn't hurt, either, even if the power of these four songs is hampered by somewhat limp production. Clearly the product of a band in progress, Stop's scope and sincerity is still something to scream home about.
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Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller