Sarchasm - Tides [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Tides [EP] (2017)

1986'd records

Tides is a fitting name for the new EP by Berkeley’s Sarchasm. Across the 7-inch’s three tracks, the band alternatives washing the listener with massive walls of sound with letting out a faint trickle of acoustic guitars. Ostensibly, the band is influenced by their forefathers, rooting their sound in the classic sound of bay area pop punk. But, that’s really just the base here.

Instead of limiting themselves with that template, the band welds a sort of folk-punk vulnerability into “Tides 1,” only to morph the song into a massive , hauzy rumbler ala Jesus and Mary Chain. This is a band that seems mainly interested in inter-personal politics, so it’s good that they leave the tiny imperfections in their music – a cracking voice here, a sour note there- frankly, this band does the heart-on-the-sleeve thing so well, it makes one wish so many other bands didn’t buff out their sound with plastic-y over-production.

Where the band really takes off is when they play with song growth. The first track might be “Tides 1,” but by the time the song drifts from a Daniel Johnston innocence to a pounding wall of sound to an almost Cure-like fade out, it feels like an epic. Similarly, both “Tides II” and “Tides III” visit different areas in a shared universe. They like to toy by contrasting matter-of-fact lyrics “There’s a sparkle in my eye from the dirt you threw in my face” with more surrealist constructs “We were meant as pallbearers to carry away what this carrion cares for you.” (AJJ watch out!) Frankly, the band’s morbid playfulness works wonderfully within their twisting songs.

Sarchasm jump all over the indie-map so, at first, you might think that they were over-working the concept. But, that’s not the case. The band knows just when to change course in order to keep a song interesting and without being perverse about. Of course, it helps that their Mountain Goats-ish lyrics stitch the whole thing together. This band might be working off previously established precepts, but they weld them together in such an unusual way that it feels completely natural.