Search/Rescue – The Compound
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: Digital downloads are available now. Hard copies will be available "shortly" via the mail or at concerts.
I honestly can’t comprehend the pressure Search/Rescue must feel. Fans of these dudes’ former bands are a rabid bunch. They're always quick to regale others with a retelling of the Acceptance Major Label Tragedy, or to debate Gatsby’s American Dream’s obvious superiority over Forgive Durden. “Fuck the haters,” they cry, “we were down with this shit before you could read!” I’ll let these people be, though. Faithful fans are good for music. Faithful fans are great for bands. Faithful fans are terrible for dudes trying to start anew. You see, this isn’t a review for Search/Rescue; it’s a review for Search/Rescue (ex-GAD and ex-Acceptance). One misstep, just one lackluster ballad, and fanboys are back to the old stuff that was “soooooooooo much better than anything this band will ever create.” I know the ordeal all too well. Your mind wants to separate past from present, but your heart will never forget unhooking a bra with “Different” playing in the background. For Search/Rescue’s sake, suck it up and move on.
The Compound looks and seems complex. At its core, though, The Compound is a mid-tempo pop record using a mixture of Acceptance’s moodiness and Gatsby’s quirkiness. Both bands had a way of elevating themselves above conventional scene-pop music, but Search/Rescue sound much more normal. (Remember, normal is not a synonym for God-awful.) “Fireflies” and “Museums” may feature the same ol’ soft verse to loud chorus structure, but Ryan Van Wieringen’s affecting voice oozes maturity. Oozes like a stuffed nose. Oozes like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. He sings, “How long before I explode / How long ‘til I say what I mean / Will it even change a thing?” over nothing more than far-off piano notes in “Holding On,” and we hear a band of grown-ups. The lyrics are definitely worthy on The Compound as Van Wieringen brings emotion without cheese. Search/Rescue’s guitar-rock format with piano accents, like I said, isn’t new. It’s the intelligence and imagery that keeps The Compound sounding fresh.
This was one of those records that did nothing for me upon first listen(s). Well, I take that back. I kept listening because I felt a connection could be formed with just a smidge of effort. “Where Sea Meets Sky” was the reward for my efforts. Light synthesizers, piano and ringing guitars aid Van Wieringen as he looks for his place in this world. The picture being painted is lonely: “These empty streets I walk on / The city sleeps but I’m awake / And I can’t get my head around this place.” This song, for me, embodies The Compound. The world is changing around us constantly. Nothing is permanent. How do we grab hold? How do we find ourselves when everyone is lost? Van Wieringen’s answers were Search/Rescue and a love for nature’s astonishing beauty.
The album’s crystal clear production and sparse use of electronics brings songs like “The Shame” and “94” to radio-rock status. Is that the smell of a big break? Instruments cut out for climaxes that mean something, guitars follow similar paths only to break off from each other, and Van Wieringen leads the show with poise and pitch. In this case, dudes trying to start anew are great for faithful fans.
Recommended If You Like: Acceptance, a huskier version of Mae's The Everglow, evergreen trees, Gatsby's American Dream, gurgling creeks
From the songs I have heard, you pretty much summed up this album perfectly. I actually didn't have many expectations for this despite loving Acceptance, but I like the sound they have going on and I can see them gathering a decent following.
"The Compound looks and seems complex. At its core, though, The Compound is a mid-tempo pop record using a mixture of Acceptance’s moodiness and Gatsby’s quirkiness."
You nailed the sum of this record so good right there. I absolutely love this album, it's by far one of my favorite records for 2008. I think fans of acceptance - phantoms won't be disappointed with this as well.