The Eastern Sea – Plague

Rating: ★★★★☆

As we all know, Austin is a giant arena for up and coming bands to make their names known, but in such a big scene, how do you stand out amongst the others trying just as hard as you? For The Eastern Sea, their delicately forceful rock, complete with some uniquely striking vocals sets them apart from the average bedroom rock band. Upon first listen, Plague gives off an illuminating quality that yields further listening and promises that this band has a lot to bring to the table.

The opener and title track introduces the deep sound that The Eastern Sea builds upon with the rest of the album. A slow burner, “Plague,” relies on a thick coating of atmospheric sound and a gradual build that shows the range in Matt Hines vocals. It’s a refined number that reveals just how much control the band has, and the restraint that is employed early on, leaving you yearning to know just what is in store when they let loose. As if they know what you’re waiting for, the next song, “Wasn’t For Love,” picks up the pace and gives you a taste of the layers of complexity that combine seamlessly. The track begins with a groovy bass line, and continually adds upon itself with a lighter line of jingly percussion, a looping guitar hook and of course Hines’ James Mercer/Ben Gibbard-esque vocals. Some horns join in on the chorus and later in the song, and you’re forced to marvel at how very put-together this band is; they are controlled chaos at its finest, knowing where to reel in before it becomes too much.

As aforementioned, in a town so big on music, something is needed to set apart, and what the Eastern Sea has going for them is their control and an album packed with interesting and excitingly good songs. There are numbers like “Santa Rosa” on which the lyrics are sharp and quick witted, and more horns join in, leading up to a sizzling couple of choruses, before they pull back and end the track on a quieter, refined note. The band pulls back one slower numbers like “The Match,” but still builds to an explosive ending. There is a great mixture of loud and quiet, controlled and chaotic that pushes the elements of sound of this group above others.

There really isn’t much to complain about on Plague; it’s a beautiful album that will have those who love some classic indie rock begging for more. So enjoy this effort from a local band and look forward to this band blowing up in the near future.

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