Ah, the split.
It leaves you with so many possible outcomes that a single band release just can’t manage. If one band runs the disc into the ground, the other can dig it up, dust it off, and say “Here you go” with a smile. Or both halves could deliver an unnecessary assault to the eardrums leaving you wondering if horrible bands have some sort of strange magnetic draw to one another. The split can even meld two great acts into one satisfying whole, much like the way peanut butter and chocolate coalesce in deliciousness. So what about this split? Well, it offers yet another possible outcome: Two bands that both make you say “Meh.”
The Kirby open the split with their Circle Takes the Square / the Number 12 Looks Like You sound with a big push in the pop department. And how do their three tracks sound? Well, like a band like Circle Takes the Square or the Number 12 Looks Like You adding more pop to their sound. There is spastic drumming, suddenly shifting dynamics, multiple vocalists and vocal approaches, and some solid guitar playing. The difference is that the Kirby don’t use as many metal riffs or hardcore breakdowns. What you get is a band that sounds like a less developed Trophy Scars, as soft movements and emo vocals bump up against rock breakouts and breakdowns. Each song has its moments -- kick-ass riff here, good melody there, but they can’t seem to keep it up for a whole song.
The first thing that stands out about Blueprint Car Crash is that their singer wants to be Cedric Bixler, and not screamy At the Drive-In-era Cedric, but Mars Volta-wailing-prog Cedric. Surprisingly, he pulls it off pretty well, but unfortunately the band’s music -- modern rock that dabbles in atmospherics (see Incubus or Finch’s “new” sound) -- just really isn’t the type of thing you want to lay those vocals on top of. What you get is three songs that sound like they want to please both stoners and hard rock fans while some guy’s vocal chords chase after one too many high notes.
So like I said before, meh. Neither band is horrible, but neither is doing anything to get excited about.