System and Station - A Series of Screws (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

System and Station

A Series of Screws (2010)

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System and Station have been around for a hot minute. A Series of Screws is the band's fifth full-length, but the band hasn't seemed to garner the most substantial fanbase. That's a pity, since they play enjoyable, plaintive indie rock akin to post-reunion Sunny Day Real Estate or a less esoteric Shudder to Think. Granted, these are comparisons SaS are probably no strangers to, meaning their style has stayed largely consistent over their 13-year course, but it doesn't make it any less interesting this time around.

Acoustic opener "Pain Pills" feels a bit like it should have been later in the track listing. It's a risky maneuver to open the album, but honestly, it does set up an interestingly subtle introduction to the record, making the followup track–the more straightforward rock/post-hardcore of "Pardon Me"–a relatively restrained treat.

That's something that's noticeable about A Series of Screws–this feels like it's very oriented in a light, easygoing groove, but with bouts of tension to liven it up. "The River" is a pretty taut example of this, while "Thieves" gets in a more psychedelic hook. The more dynamic pounds of the closing title track certainly make it a late highlight.

A Series of Screws doesn't come off amazingly brilliant, but it's smart and well-done stuff. Maybe this album will finally get these vets some notice.

A Series of Screws