Reservoir - I Heard You As I Walked Away [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


I Heard You As I Walked Away [EP] (2013)

Dead Flowers / Broken World / Major Bear

Something's in the water in Pennsylvania. Whatever it is, it's helping produce great bands that just keep churning out great music. Reservoir are a crafty little quartet that spill their guts on the harsh reality of life, with an emo-melodic vibe that carries their message perfectly. When jumping into their older stuff and then coming back to I Heard You As I Walked Away, it's easy to hear apparent growth.

"Before I Leave" is draped with melodic ambience that isn't drawn on too long but maintains room for the nuance, texture and emotional charades that Reservoir like to play with. The multiple vocals add a lot of character, depth and emotional tissue to the record. There's a musical breakdown here that, apart from being silky smooth, resonates to set the tone for the remainder of the album. Balancing their spates of harmony and rhythm with a raw, unpolished emo vibe is where Reservoir excel. I heard a lot of comparisons to Small Brown Bike and Sunny Day Real Estate pop up but to me, it's reminiscent of Thursday's Waiting and even the recent stuff from We Were Promised Jetpacks.

"Bedfellow" pans outs like a lullaby with rolling drums that tear into the listener. The bassline and lyrics are nothing short of piercing, steeped in slow, dramatic effect. The shifts and changes of pace in the structure of the album is thought-provoking from track to track. The opening tracks take no quarter and then renew the elements of those memories, which portray the biggest throwbacks to the days old – volatile, nerve-racking or just filled with anxiety. Depressive at times? Yes, but quite endearing at others.

There's a prolonged vibe of heartache and loss through the EP, and I could be wrong here but what I'll stand by is the Kid Brother Collective tones that swirl around the deeper you get into this. There's something about these records, set so slow and calm just until that contrasting point, with bouts of chaos that tug at the insides. They seem to ask you to see the view from the top. When Reservoir speak in unison, it's more telling but the varying delivery yields the same results. "In Passing" glosses over nicely and it's a breath of fresh air to see minor hiccups amid so much promise. 'It's only numbers / And I'm only counting backwards / Until I find myself / Starting all over again' proves you don't need to be flashy to cut it, so much as succinct in your storytelling.

This is a mini-masterpiece that may just fly under the radar but for those who catch it and decide to sample Reservoir's older stuff, you'll find a pleasant surprise. I Heard You As I Walked Away is more than a guilty pleasure or an underground band coming up, it's a hidden gem that's chock full of complex, meaningful stories which you shouldn't pass up.