Time Spent Driving - Walls Between Us (Cover Artwork)

Time Spent Driving

Walls Between Us (2001)


Since the long-gone emo act is preparing to release a collection of new tracks and rarities on Lorelei Records this year, it's even more worthwhile than usual to revisit their debut EP. It's always been a good place to go, though.

The record's not all that different than the LP that followed; suffice to say that Walls Between Us is moody where Just Enough Bright chooses to brood. But it's essentially just Time Spent Driving doing what they do and making that work.

What they do is tread a pretty thin line between emo and silence. They slow their riffs and Jon Cattivera, whose voice is possibly the strongest single contribution to the band's sound, allows himself a weak delivery here and a cheesy lyric there.

Why? Because it works when you feel it, apparently. The sometimes-stellar, sometimes-trite lyrics work because, even when the words aren't right, the intent with which they're delivered is. The vocal performances illuminate that Cattivera was feeling what he was singing, even if it wasn't very unique. He wasn't concocting it because it seemed like the genre-appropriate thing to do.

There's also verse-chorus songwriting afoot here, and it works at times, then fails at others. It certainly seems appropriate to the refrain-centric approach they're taking, but the riffs underlying those refrains are often simply too subtle, too wispy, to sustain that kind of repetition. The music's a little too honest, slow and wispy to really get stuck in your head like that.

The lyrics also don't strike gold as often as they do on the subsequent full-length, even though the guitars are more dynamic and varied. What it seems like this is, what it could be, in retrospect, is a very sincere band still trying to find the best voice in which to say what it is they have to say, and that stage in a solid band's development is well-worth a listen.