By Surprise / Hightide Hotel - Split [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

By Surprise / Hightide Hotel

Split [7 inch] (2009)

Runner Up

By Surprise and Hightide Hotel have yelpy '90s emo down pat here. Y'know all those hero worship acts that are starting to sprout up here and there in Pennsylvania? These are probably two good examples and fans of throwback emo would do fairly well to hear 'em.

By Surprise get a trio of tracks on the A side. "Invisible Ink" starts off with a funky riff before delving into a more expansive, instrumental take on the really raw, early Get Up Kids stuff, while closer "CB Radio" is a multi-tracked vocal shout-along, like a rougher-around-the-edges Piebald. The raw-ness and honesty of the digital-only "I Miss You, Etc." gets to be a bit too much, though.

Hightide Hotel kinda traverse similar ground on Side B. Operating on the American Football tip for "Elementary Biology," they're slower and have wistful gang vocals here; the way it weaves through its course you'd think you stumbled upon an old Look Mexico B-side. "Shuttle" is pretty strong too, staking out the ground between 30° Everywhere and Nothing Feels Good, but the digital-only "Apartment Buildings" attempts bustling, fussy dynamics that seem to fall short of intentions.

Still, all told, not a bad 7".

By Surprise - Invisible Ink
By Surprise - CB Radio
By Surprise - I Miss You, Etc.

Hightide Hotel - Shuttle
Hightide Hotel - Elementary Biology