Bridge and Tunnel - East/West
No Idea Records
A few years ago, it felt like Latterman was playing every show I went to, and I really couldn't care less. It was odd, because they were a band that I should enjoy. Scratchy punk with melodic hooks, big bears, and that No Idea records sound. For some reason, it never stuck, and because of that, I wrote off Bridge and Tunnel from the outset. Well, that was a shame, because I've really come to love their debut full length, East/West.
Starting off with "Wartime Souvenirs," one would think that this is a more punk rock record, picking up where Latterman left off. But to make that assumption would be thinking a little too quickly. While there is a definite punk feel, this is more of a gruff indie rock record, not unlike Domestica era Cursive. Dense layers of fuzzy guitars weave together, almost reminding you of Minus the Bear (particularly on songs like "Night Owls" and "Dear Sir" due to the drums). They're technical and noodley, but not as precise as Minus the Bear. There's an underlying Kinsella vibe as well (Cap'n Jazz and American Football), but this is mostly in the music.
As stated above, the vocals have a very Cursive sound, with a hoarse shout from singer/guitarist Jeff, and a mix of female vocals from Rachel and Tia (guitar and drums, respectively). What really helps to make this band interesting is the lyrical content. There is a current of optimism to the record, with a positivity that borders on cheesy but never goes overboard. The rallying cry to "build something better," both personally, socially, and globally fills the record, and it's obvious that they're passionate about what they care about, which is important.
I'm disappointed in myself for sleeping on this band for so long, but I'm glad that I've finally checked them out and realized what all the hype was about. Unfortunately, I'm sure I missed a lot of great shows they've turned in over the past few months. Luckily I saw them at Party Mansion last month and will see them at Fest next month. Burn your sleeves!