Sinai Vessel - profanity
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Record Label: Unsigned
Sinai Vessel describes their music as “punk for sissies.” I’m sure it’s meant to be humorous and probably some self-deprecating inside joke, but I hardly think anyone on the outside cold consider them “punk for sissies.” Especially not after listening to their latest release, last year’s EP profanity, a release just brimming with emo-styled riffs and melodic (if often strained) vocals. And since that doesn’t give enough of an idea of the band’s sound, suffice it to say, they’d fit in pretty well on Tiny Engines or something.
There’s isn’t much on profanity not to like. Sure, “greatham” is a completely pointless track, but at only forty seconds, it doesn’t do much to upset the flow of the album. Maybe Caleb Cordes’ Happy Hollow-esque lyrics – focusing on the hypocrisy of small-town religion – could annoy some listeners, but they really shouldn’t when they’re all well-written as they are here. The digital only bonus track is a cover of Nick Drake’s “Place to Be,” which sticks true to the original and does surprising justice to a classic song.
But even as good as that song is, it pales compared to the band’s louder, rougher edges songs. Probably the most immediate track is “cuckold,” a short punk-injected track a la Captain, We’re Sinking’s latest record. It’s catchy, despite the way every work is barked out, and is the EP’s lyrical highlight. The album’s slower moments, such as “drowning around” or the first verse of opener “cats” carry a similar vibe to early Pedro the Lion material. The former is a pretty song which makes effective use of its simple chord progressions and bouncy drumming, whereas the latter of those two songs loses any trace of that about two minutes in though, as Cordes begins to yell for the first time on the EP. Sometimes harsher vocals like that could turn off some listeners, but Cordes’ shouts aren’t guttural or demonic. They sound impassioned and forceful, like he really wants the listener to hear and understand him every time he raises his voice.
And the listener will want to hear him, because from start to end, profanity is certainly a treat. It’s rare to find an unsigned band so capable, or who calls to mind so many disparate influences while still sounding original. I was late in discovering Sinai Vessel – don’t be like me, listen to profanity now.