Reviews

How the Cold War Began -

Author: Jeff
03/21/2001 | Delusions of Adequecy | www.adequacy.net | Album Review
It wasn't that long ago that Chapel Hill, N.C. seemed to be the next hot-bed of rock, with bands like Superchunk, the Archers of Loaf, and Polvo, but that scene faded quickly, at least to those of us not from the area, in the mid- to late-90's. There's a resurgence of indie-rock bands from that area, and bands like Sorry About Dresden, Cole, The White Octave and others are leading the way. On this release especially, you can hear the band taking a page from previous Chapel Hill poster-boys Archers of Loaf and Superchunk.

Sorry About Dresden merges equal parts indie rock and post-hardcore into a unique and slightly math-rocky style of rock-n-roll. Their songs tend to be intense and driven by powerful guitar licks and slightly off-key vocals, and while that may not sound different from a million other emo bands, SAD has a different flare. Perhaps it's that they're a bit noisier, a bit more complex, or maybe just that they're more talented.

The EP starts with the somber, guitar-lead "Temporary Felts," which feels like no more than an introduction to lead into "The Cults of the Famous and the Dead." This song shows off the band's more indie rock style, sounding like an eerie cross between Pavement and Lazycain. Driving guitars and multiple vocals give this one a noisy yet fun, rocking feel that maintains a pop sensibility. "Khrushchev Came on the Right Day" shows off the more math-rock side, with a blistering assault of rock that you can actually dance to. That's contrasted by "The Store You Deserve," a quieter and more melodic affair with some moody, sorrowful guitar.

Probably my favorite track from the band, "The Mayor Will Abdicate" kicks off with a noisy hodge-podge intro before breaking into a sing-along, Archers-style kick-ass rock song. I can just imagine how much fun this would be live as what sounds like the entire band sings along to "The leaders of the new school!" during the chorus. "Failure of Woollett" finishes up the EP with a bit less intensity, ending as the album began. Quiet guitar and echoed drums combine with more mellow vocals on this somber track.

I hear a lot of similarities between Chapel Hill's Sorry About Dresden and The White Octave. Both bands combine styles effortlessly and pour on the power-chord rock. And both bands owe a debt to Archers of Loaf, as evident in their music. Sorry About Dresden may have a step up, however, in being together longer and noticeably refining their sound. This is the best offering yet by the band, even if some of these songs have been around a while as staples of the band's live show. Expect more great rock from these guys, including an upcoming full-length on Saddle Creek.


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