The So So Glos – Low Back Chain Shift

Rating: ★★★★☆

The So So Glos recently made the move to become part of the ever growing, and solid, Brooklyn music scene, but don’t let your preconceived notions get the best of you just yet.  Low Back Chain Shift, though short, is filled with promise of a ramshackle good time.  Surely this is going to be a band to keep your eyes, and ears, on as the future unfolds for this young band.

“Fred Astaire” kicks off this party with soft vocal from singer Alex Levine, but even early on you can see there is a gleam of trouble lying in wait.  Soon, you meet that, as Levine gives off a bit of a growl, as guitars cut through the steady drumming.  It’s not a bad way to start off an EP, and although the songs do hold pop tendencies, perhaps Levine can take the group to new boundaries.

Indeed, Levine will carry the band, not to disregard the contributions of the other three members, but “Live Like TV” definitely uses a nice little blend of surf guitar jangle entwined with precision garage drum antics.  Such songs are fairly typical nowadays, but Alex has this whiskey grit to his delivery, much like Hives frontman Pelle Almquist.  It brings a level of excitement and energy needed to make any band of this genre relevant.

“New Stance” is definitely an outlier in this brief collection of five songs.  It’s a slow dance number, using limited percussion, minor guitar strumming, and Levine.  It’s probably not the most creative song the band has written, but somehow, cleverly placed in the middle of the EP, and short, it works really well.  Once again, we can’t discount incredibly distinct voices, so Levine’s getting more points.

When you arrive at “Here Goes the Neighborhood,” the band has left there direction quite open, purposefully. They’ve got dirtier surf-pop and mellow tracks, but here, they take the surf-pop in a much-welcomed direction, giving the sound a nice bit of The Clash.  Damn you Alex Levine! Your voice is fitting to every stylistic change on this EP.  Towards the end, you just get a bit more of a nice rock-steady beat and groove, which never hurts.

“Lindy Hop” is the single track off the Low Back Chain Shift EP, although further listens reveal that any number could take that place.  This is probably the grittiest version of the band, with a nice little rattling percussive beat in the back, and Levine doing his best to bring some post-punk flavor to the band’s sound.  There’s a little bit more fury in this track than in previous numbers, especially with that little no-wave saxophone blast, but it just goes to show you that the band are willing to travel in any direction they choose, as long as it sounds good.

Your short visit with Low Back Chain Shift will surely leave you begging and pleading for more.  The So So Glos have slowly built a name for themselves, and a release with this much quality and diversity is not going to hurt that reputation much either. There’s something for us all in here, giving us grit and pop all mixed up. You won’t know what to do.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/sosogloslindyhop.mp3]

Download: So So Glos – Lindy Hop [MP3]

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