The fourth volume of Deep Elm's split EP series brings together the label's three brightest talents for the best edition of the series yet. Uniting groups from Sweden, Italy, and Oregon have created one of the largest musical Bermuda Triangles in recent memory, with a smorgasboard of interesting, original music going on in the middle of it.
Swedes Sounds Like Violence are up first, with only one contribution, "I Push You Up The Stairs." In short, this song rips. The guitars slice through the song's melody, with the vocalist singing like he really means it. Powerful mid-nineties post-hardcore stuff that is worth many a listen.
Settlefish spend the next 5 tracks trading off songs with Desert City Soundtrack, to the score of 3-2 in favor of the Italians. Settlefish's contributions continue a lot of the ideas they expressed in 2003's Dance A While, Upset, but instead of rehashing the good stuff from that album, they've expanded upon it. "Curse Loosely" has one of the most intruiging free jazz breakdowns I've ever stumbled across; how the band keeps time during this part live is beyond me. "Who Placed The Dots On Dyslexia?" is akin to At The Drive-In, circa in/CASINO/OUT. It's straightforward while still being challenging, and is over before you know it. Settlefish closes out the CD with the quiet musings of "Glass Party," revealing a more introspective side to the group and showing much promise for their future.
Portland residents Desert City Soundtrack bring two new songs to the table, both of which are as abrasive if not moreso than 2003's Funeral Car. This band seems to be slowly descending into madness, and songs like "Send Your Soldiers To Do The Killing" isn't going to save them anytime soon. The song is a poison-filled rant at President Bush, with straight-to-the-point lyrics like "You got to be fucking kidding me / I'm not fighting your war / These are not your eyes to use / These are not your arms to rape / These are not your lies to spread / You fucking coward President." The sheer power of this band as vocalist Matt Carillo explodes with "You gotta be fucking kidding meeeee!" is absolutely insane. Their second song "January's Loss" is a bit more vague lyrically, but still contains the same spitfire that every DCS song contains, with banging piano chords being anchored by a spastic rhythm section; it's like Fugazi on crack. This song is a slower number, however, more reminiscent of The Black Heart Procession or newer Murder By Death material.
There are few bands really pushing the musical envelope lately, and Deep Elm has been lucky enough to capture three from across the world and unite them on this CD. Definitely worth picking up.
Sounds Like Violence - I Push You Up The Stairs [clip]
Settlefish - Curse Loosely [clip]
Desert City Soundtrack - January's Loss [clip]