Baggy is out. That’s what I’m told by the guys in The Record Time, a great little combo (formerly a trio, now a four-piece) from Texas that knows how to keep things interesting by giving you what you’d least expect. That is, power pop that seems to escape any logic of time signature constraints, typical riffage, and, well, power pop in general. But this is a very good thing, you see. So many in the math rock/emocore (let’s just call ‘em an out ‘n’ out rock band for our purposes here) community tend to forget their talent after the first guitar chord is it. That isn’t the case with The Record Time. Really, all you have to do is listen to the first track on their Dream in Color, Dream in Sound EP, “A Girl a Rose a Stage”.
“It’s been two years and still / Some nights I scream for you / God, it could have been so real”, sings guitarist and vocalist Grant Passmore. Grant tells me that he feels now that he could have done a better job on the lyrics with this song, but honestly, the directness here is nice and raw, exploding out of the ever-changing music that fellow bandmates Daniel Hawkins (percussion and piano) and Stephen Henderson (electric bass) turn out. The song begins on a rather easy going note, a nice riff here, a straight beat there. But then the vocals pour out and the whole thing splits into a frenzied, chaotic rock-around that reforms into an entirely different riff, an entirely different beat, almost an entirely different song altogether. But it leaves the listener paralyzed by their speakers to hear more. More of what this band can do, more of Passmore’s soulful vocals (an increasingly rare thing in the indie rock community), more of this sincere and direct music.
“Never Say” has some very nice bass/guitar interplay as the guitars share the lead riff before cascading into some beautiful power chords and Hawkins begins to vary the pace of the tune, expertly alternating between a standard 4/4 and various other styles—I’m not even going to get into the technicalities; the guy’s a phenomenal time-keeper (just listen to those tasteful and never over-powering fills he tosses out with ease). Honestly, it just boggles my mind how these guys do what they do. Reading over a list of their popular influences would make you think that they’re another everyday band, but then hearing their music completely squashes that assumption. It’s almost like these guys are a remodeled, stripped down, and far more exciting update of a band like Rush. And I hate to really compare them to that band, because they sound nothing like that. But when I think of technical prowess, flawless playing, and just an uncanny knack for seamless shifting musical interplay and integration, Rush is often at the top of that list.
But fear not, as The Record Time offer up no songs of science-fiction overtures or extended jams. These tunes are about youth, about love, about memory. They hit a nerve that sends me back seven or so odd years when I was the band members’ age. Back when your early twenties still offer up a sense of innocence and wonder. It’s nice to hear music that fills me with that feeling. But that’s what you get when you hear these guys play out with all their hearts and souls. They’re out there for you. Seriously. When I talked to the band, I got this sense of a real love for not only their music, but for the people they play to. And that’s cool. So suffice it to say that the remaining songs here, “Divine Divine Divine”, “Last One Picked”, and “Three Hour Drive” offer up the same honest performances and spectacular playing. You can check ‘em out and see what I mean. Why spoil the surprises?
For now, I’d just like to bring us all up to date with the band. Shortly after recording dream in color, dream in sound, the band snapped up new member Miles McMahon. Miles plays guitar and sings as well, apparently allowing Grant to rock out even more and execute back flips on the stage (now that’s gotta be a show). With the new lineup, the band has been playing gigs and even recorded a new tune (“Matthew Utopia”) for inclusion on a compilation disc issued by Close to Nothing Records. From what I can tell, McMahon just kicks even more energy into this already incredible group. So what are you waiting for? Snag yourself a copy of Dream in Color, Dream in Sound after you get done reading this. It’s yet another fantastic EP release of late that shouldn’t go overlooked.