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Butterfly Assassins

Butterfly Assassins EP

(Old Flame; US: 13 Feb 2007; UK: Unavailable)

If you see a photo of the Butterfly Assassins, you can’t help but notice how unbelievably young they look—somewhere suspended between the skater kids and emo musicians of high school. Yet their maturity in the studio is incredible. They’re a tight group of kids who grew up in the sweltering summers of Chicago listening to Muse and wondering if Bach would ever love them. Their self-titled EP is a largely self-produced affair, but you wouldn’t know it from the sound alone: the thing comes off shining from all the studio polish, but the songs themselves never completely rise above their influences. The Muse melodramatics are easy to spot (especially on the rousing “Prelude No. 1 in D Minor”—an original number, believe it or not), but Brian Trahan’s lyrics rarely rise above Reliant K-level cliché. On “Little Violin”, Trahan intones the line “Your love is a fairytale” the exact same way that Rivers Cuomo sang “Your love is a heartbreaker” from the Weezer classic “Say it Ain’t So”. Such imitation may not be intentional, but these mix-n-match influences weigh down the bands prospects for true originality. This is why the cello-crashing climax of “Prelude” sounds like Trans-Siberian Orchestra in their prime, all while bassist Danny Yardon establishes himself as the band’s secret weapon, providing fantastic countermelodies to songs when they’re most needed. The MySpace crowd will have no trouble lapping this group up, but here’s to hoping that this obviously talented group lays off the hero-worship for their full-length.

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Evan Sawdey started contributing to PopMatters in late 2005, and has also had his work featured in publications such as SLUG Magazine, The Metro (U.K.), Soundvenue Magazine (Denmark), the Daily Dot, and many more. Evan has been a guest on HuffPost Live, RevotTV's "Revolt Live!", and WNYC's Soundcheck (an NPR affiliate), was the Executive Producer for the Good With Words: A Tribute to Benjamin Durdle album, and wrote the liner notes for the 2011 re-release of Andre Cymone's hit 1985 album A.C. (Big Break Records), the 2012 re-release of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 debut Voices Carry (Hot Shot Records), and many others. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow him @SawdEye should you be so inclined.


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Butterfly Assassins -- Prelude No. 1 in D Minor (Live)
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