Brandtson / Camber / Seven Storey Mountain - split CD (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Brandtson / Camber / Seven Storey Mountain

split CD (2003)

Deep Elm

Two of my favorite Deep Elm bands on one split CD? New material from both bands? Quality artwork and CD design? How could one possibly go wrong?

Well normally, the inclusion of Brandtson would kill all that momentum this CD has going for it. But even my least favorite DE group performs above-par on this release, and I also lucked out in that they only contribute one of the disc's six songs. While Brandtson's lyrics always border on the embarassingly cheesy ["You're the girl with pin-straight hair / and curling iron burns just below her ear" {Tangent: guys, you just went from first to third person in the same vocal line. Not cool.}], the song still is a solid three-minute rocker, and I don't mind it so much as their other material.

Camber gets the biggest chunk of time on this CD with three tracks, and they also capture the bronze ring with their barnburner of a track, "Dealt." This song is a perfect example of the progression the band has taken since their Sunny Day Real Estate-ripoff days of yesteryear, with wailing guitars, rumbling drums, and just vicious lyrics [the phrase "when you grin-fucked me to hell" sticks out to an absurdly mean degree]. The quartet's other two songs, one a basic midtempo rocker, the other a basic ballad [with added female vocals to really hit your soft spot] are nothing new, but they're still nice additions to the band's already gem-heavy back catalog.

The now one man band of Seven Storey finishes out the CD with two numbers slightly atypical of the group's style portrayed on their last full-length. While the last disc was much more guitar-rock oriented [complete with, dare I say, killer riffs], these two songs have much more of a mid-nineties college rock vibe to them [think Dinosaur Jr. with actually discernable vocals]. Lance Lammers is currently the only person in the band [as he recorded every part of these songs by himself], so that might explain the more simplistic take on the two cuts. They're still good solid rock songs, and I catch myself singing along each time.

All in all, this three-way split was a very pleasant endeavor. Brandtson didn't suck while both Camber and Seven Storey continued to impress me. And as I mentioned before, the artwork is gorgeous [as is typical of almost every Deep Elm release], so it's just plain nice to look at while you're listening to it, too. A definite thumbs up here.

Brandtson - Dead Animals
Camber - Dealt
Camber - Goodbye Mr. Spalding
Seven Storey - New Day