On an On - Give in
Record Label: Roll Call Records
Release Date: Jan. 29, 2013
If only all debut efforts could be like this.
Give In, the freshman effort from Midwestern trio On an On opens with the hazy "Ghosts," which threatens to collapse upon itself before yielding to a rumbling mid-tempo foray in both ringing guitars and dynamic vocals. The song builds gradually and one keeps waiting for the song to take off into a blistering finish. Alas, it is not in the cards. The veritable lack of crescendo makes for what is arguably one of the year's more intriguing opening salvos and piques curiosity, spurning the listener for more.
The proverbial "more" comes in the form of "Every Song in the World," a Brit-inspired effort with a cinematic grandeur and a sweetly affecting chorus that should find favor with many. Give In's first half concludes with "American Dream," which doesn't really deviate much from its two predecessors; "The Hunter," a synth-and-vocoder driven effort that segues into a triumphant march, and "All the Horses," a restrained effort about family dysfunction that finds the band firing on all cylinders.
Give In's second half opens with "Bad Mythology," a fuzzy AWOLNation-inspired effort that feels more like an exercise in sonic boundaries than that of nuanced pop song. But to the band's credit, the song ends up being both. And it is on "Bad Mythology," that the sheer power of this band starts to become more pronounced. One of the finest examples of that is the slithering and sleek "War is Gone," which glides along on the strength of vocalist Nate Eiesland's brimming confidence.
The album closes with "Cops," a slowly rolling exercise in falsetto and twinkling atmospherics; the chugging "Panic," and the eight-minute closer "I Wanted to Say More," a highly nuanced slice of moody instrumentation and very few vocals. Though it borders on sedate, there's a coiled charisma at work that is far too hard to ignore.
And therein lies the power of On an On. For all its many charms, Give In's finest statement is that it possesses a refined grace that is unlike very few of its contemporaries. The entire album feels calculated, meticulous and air-tight, implying that the disc has been in the works for quite some time, or better yet, that the band has been sitting on these songs for a good long while. Regardless of which narrative is valid, Give In is as strong an effort as any and the grand introduction of a first-rate new outfit.
I wish more reviews would be like this. I hate reading 1 or 2 beefy paragraphs about the previous album, projects they've been involved with, or whatever nonsense. You get right into it and talk about the tracks -- love what you said about each one. Awesome job, and I love this record!