One thing that separates the Chicago three-piece My Were They from many newer local bands is that they aren’t afraid to evolve. Four Songs, their new EP, finds the band abandoning their former guitar driven and occasionally Brit-pop styling for more meditative, keyboard-and-bass heavy experimentation.
According to the My Were They’s press release included with a copy of Four Songs, the band’s music sounds like, “tape echo, tube saturation, cloudy days and starry nights.” While those descriptive phrases reek of pretentiousness, the band manages to back up their modern-indie claims with four solid songs that aren’t afraid to shift organically and vamp on a section rather than add in unnecessary embellishments.
From the opener “The One With The Votes,” it’s quite apparent that the band have decided for a more organ-based approach as the track begins with a thick and hearty bass riff over and eerie Farfisa organ line. Eventually a delicate guitar melody creeps in and the mood lightens, as Michael Daly’s nerve-riddled-Thom Yorke-esque vocals lay low underneath the rest of the band until a frantic guitar section brings the song to a close. “Lately” opens with careening organ lines over a rollicking tom-leaden drum beat that drive the song to its haunting vocal and introversive guitar bridge. EP closer “See Now,” presents an almost 1980’s industrial drum and synth groove, which shifts focus to Daly’s high-pitched falsetto and psychedelic, floating organ riff.
The record does falter a bit in its production, however. It’s extremely boomy with the bass and organ lines occasionally sounding as if the band is playing with two bass players. And at times, their vocal hooks get lost in the sea of murkiness.
Still, My Were They manages to create a very confident album full of organic tones and spacey arrangements. It’s recalls older Secret Machines material, if Secret Machine traveled back in time and recorded their albums in the 1960’s because Four Songs has this unusual raw appeal about it that makes it such an enticing listen. It will be interesting to see what My Were They can come up with next. Here’s hoping it’s more than four songs.
Listen to Four Songs now at MyWereThey.com!