Commerce - What Happens Now (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


What Happens Now (2009)

Littlest Sounds

Commerce's taut, gravitas-inducing indie pop has a weight on What Happens Now that carries the band through an occasionally moving and delicately heavy deliberation. If you dug the heartbreaking quarter-life crises present on the Pale Pacific's Urgency record, you'll sympathize well with this EP and find requisite enjoyment in it.

The beautiful, muttered melancholy that lets "Ivory Buttons," "A Slip of the Tongue," "Oh No, I Said It" and concise closer "The Clouds in a Hurry" drift so carefully is actually pretty similar to what fellow southerner Mansions does too, especially vocally. But as "Ivory Buttons" goes forward, echoes of choir vocals stock it with a lush sounding buildup. The weepy "Green Composition Books" uses a Rhodes keyboard tone especially similar to the aforementioned Urgency (same for "Oh No, I Said It"), but it fills out with its own bountiful feast of instrumental, emo/post-rock-leaning atmosphere.

"In Your Bones," one of the EP's best, features some of the more immediate softs and louds, while frontman Matthew Little has a little more "umph" to his singing and the song is driven with a steady power-chord procedure. Some dynamic vocal multi-tracking parts in it remind me of Settlefish (think Tom Delonge in more of a late '90s indie/emo setting). "Oh No, I Said It" breaks into a louder, distorted chorus straight out of the Death Cab playbook circa 1998-2001, and its yearning touch is graceful yet crunchy.

Despite all the familiar tricks and influences, What Happens Now is a compelling and accomplished effort with particularly original flourishes. One can only hope that its new followup, The Things I Say vs. The Things I Mean, explores and realizes all this massive potential further.

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In Your Bones