April 3, 2014
Sometimes after long, brutal mid-western winters, you need a jolt to remind you that it is possible, though not probable, to feel warm again. Chicago-based Coaster’s forthcoming EP, Tattoos, has come along and provided me with that jolt. Though only 5 tracks long, there is more than enough substance to the EP to make it more than worth a listen.
The EP’s opening track, “Write My Name,” opens with a bang that and settles into a groove reminiscent of the manic energy of OK Go’s more upbeat tunes. This song, like the rest of the EP, is carried by captivating lead vocals, sounding barely on the edge of control in the best possible way. This is especially true in the heartfelt “My Bad,” the EP’s “slow” song. The lo-fi filters used on the vocals tie into the wonderfully vintage and warm bass tone and natural sounding drums, which often invoke an old synth sound, especially when busy like during the verses of “Swell”. The two guitars also emulate synth sounds with looping arpeggiated passages and some glitch-rock fills here and there. The guitar work overall is very refreshing, virtuosic, but not hackneyed. The swirling guitar solo at the end of “Swell” is particularly brilliant, with its constant motion perfectly offset by the sparse, syncopated rhythm section. There’s a nice frenzied solo at the end of “Message” and the looping wall of guitar and vocal sounds end the EP perfectly.
Coaster’s Tattoos EP opens with a punch in the face and ends with a swirl of noise and everything in between is a whole lot of fun. The fact that Coaster was able to record such a warm-sounding EP in the midst of the worst winter the midwest has seen astounds and encourages me.
The album releases at a party at Chicago’s Township on April 12th. In the meantime, you can preview the lead single and title track “Tattoos.”