Signal to Noise - Kodiak (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Signal to Noise

Kodiak (2007)


There are certain terms used far too often when speaking about music. Referring to an album as "overproduced" is usually pretty absurd. Who doesn't want their album to sound great, and not like it was recorded for SST in the mid 1980's, right? Well, the only problem is that overproduction can lead to a slight, or significant change in a group's overall sound. As is the case with Colorado's Signal to Noise, and their Eyeball Records debut, Kodiak.

Signal to Noise play your typical post-hardcore style of music. The traces of influence from bands like Hot Water Music, Jawbreaker, Jimmy Eat World and Sparta are obvious in the album's best tracks: "The Weather Machine," "The Wolves" and "Radiation." All three probably sound amazing live; however on Kodiak the production leans towards making these songs more polished than they should to be. That's bothersome, because STN write great songs, play them well, and are very honest and passionate about the music, which is clearly obvious in the actual delivery of the songs.

Generally, overproduction is used to cover something, or to add something a band is not capable of. Maybe a lack of technical ability, or vocals that need more work. This is what really frustrates me about Kodiak. STN are a great band. They write memorable songs, with catchy hooks, and well-arranged choruses and song structures. The dual vocals, trading off between melodic singing and gruff shouting, blend perfectly. The majority of the songs on Kodiak are anthemic, and condusive to a style that is clearly the band's own. However, the cleaner, crisper style in which the final mastering takes place with the material it causes the music to sound flat, and the vocals less urgent.

To some, these concerns may sound trivial or unimportant. I guess you will just have to judge for yourself. Overall, Kodiak is a good record, but with one minor flaw that really hurts the band by trying to add an aspect that simply isn't needed.