[10 July 2007]
This EP from Bucks County, Pennsylvania’s Eastern Conference Champions leaves quite an impression and seems a harbinger of great things to come. Throughout the record’s course the trio skillfully weaves together a fabric made up of alternately driving and atmospheric instrumental backdrops; the insistent vocals of Josh Ostrander; and tightly constructed rock grooves. Eastern Conference Champions traverse similar stylistic ground as bands like Lovedrug, Mute Math and Copeland, all younger ensembles who demonstrate having been greatly influenced by the artful audacity of Radiohead while still having one ear turned toward the accessible sounds presently decorating the airwaves of modern rock radio. The material included here is all quite striking—“Nice Clean Shirt” shows off the band’s ability to record ambitious, multi-layered rock with bite while “Hollywood” moves to the other end of the sonic spectrum, projecting a delicate, ethereal sound complete with angelic female harmony vocals. Throw in the piano-laden “Gucci No. 3” with its textured feel and dynamic contrast and there is a great deal for discerning rock fans to enjoy. With a full-length project scheduled to drop this summer, Eastern Conference Champions seem to have charted a collision course for success; hopefully with room to roam and romp through the space of an entire album, the band will simply build upon this concrete beginning.