Via Audio – Say Something
Release Date: September 25, 2007
Record Label: Sidecho Records
Despite some obvious slip-ups (*cough* Blinded Black *cough*), Sidecho Records has a pretty solid history of signing some rather righteous bands. Anadivine, Tokyo Rose, Sherwood, and the criminally underrated (and now defunct) Some By Sea all got their starts on Sidecho. So really, no one ought to be too surprised that Via Audio joins these strong ranks with their latest release, Say Something, a delightful little exercise in indie pop that will surely please most anyone that gives it a shot.
Sounding quite a bit like a more shoegaze-y Headlights or Winterpills, Via Audio have quite a lock on the recipe for success in the realm of boy/girl indie composition. While Jessica Martins is certainly less pronounced in her vocals than Erin Fein or Jenny Lewis, for example, her style melds extremely well with the laid-back delivery of drummer Danny Molad, which helps to weave a bit more untraditional pop charm to the songs on Say Something. This type of hushed allure can be quickly ascertained on the toe-tapping opener, “Developing Active People,” or a host of other cuts on the record. Martins steps out a little more towards leading-lady status on later numbers such as “Harder On Me,” but she never seems to truly relish the spotlight. Which is fine with listeners, of course, as her shared time with Molad is what really brings about the record’s more memorable moments. To be sure, the off-kilter spaciness of “Modern Day Saint” is pure, unadulterated pop genius – between its sexy, rolling bass line, and chunky and oft-detuned guitar riffs (amongst a host of background complements), there is a veritable slew of convergence and divergence on the track, yet it somehow manages to never feel cluttered or claustrophobic. Instead, it ends up being a decidedly addictive piece of strange (but still remarkably accessible) art.
Say Something reaches similar high ground with its noteworthy diversity, with the moody “Numb,” the upfront beauty of “We Can Be Good,” the fuzzy, hummingbird pop of “Presents” and the very Postal Service-ish “From Cloud.” Not all is rosy, however. “Enunciation” is grating piece of melodrama that completely derails the flow of the record in its later stages, and “Hazmat” is an odd mess of overdone guitar fuzz and questionable key changes. Overall, though, these are the only songs that truly warrant skipping over, which is still rather rare nowadays for a collection of eleven.
If you are at all found of the just-slightly-off-center sort of pop sounds of Rilo Kiley or The Incredible Moses Leroy, there is a lot to love about Via Audio’s latest effort, Say Something. The group has enough sensibilities to make their offering universally appealing, but the way they go about their quest involves just enough detouring to challenge those of us that appreciate a little more depth and substance to our sugary tunes. Music like this is pretty tough to find, so Say Something is most definitely one worth latching onto.