| Ever since the monolithic indie label Drive-Thru Records announced its plans to start up a sister label, fans of the record company have been eager to see and hear what bands would become part of this new extended family. The label, Rushmore Records--a wink and a nod to the cult classic film Rushmore by Wes Anderson--could serve a number of purposes.
One possibility that's been suggested is that Rushmore would simply be a net to catch the overflow of bands DTR owners Richard and Stefanie wanted to sign but could not support as a Drive-Thru band. There has also, however, remained a very plausible possibility that Rushmore will lift itself from the support of Drive-Thru's notoriety and become in itself a site for musical revolution.
The Track Record's new self-titled CD would certainly suggest the latter. One of the very first records to be released by Rushmore, The Track Record was a local favorite prior to the signing. Although they are obviously still on an upscale climb toward the songwriting ability offered only by ongoing experience on the music scene, the band has given itself a very solid foundation to start its more publically exposed career.
The album doesn't waste any time with elaborate introductions or intricate studio tricks. The first song, "Plans To Wake Up On The Beach," throws you right into the band's style and doesn't separate itself from any other track on the record. The style is great, however, and you're definitely happy with what you hear. I know I was.
"Talk Radio" slows us down and gives us the full display of just what sounds the musicians are able to produce. The vocals are anything but unimpressive, and they're just typical enough to be comfortable but just different enough to keep you interested. Many of the vocals are studio-mixed, which could be a point called against the band's natural ability, but every moment of the song is well-calculated.
Guitar and bass tracks skip and jump to an upbeat drum sound, keeping the atmosphere happy but meaningful. By the third track, "Golden," we've seen a lot of The Track Record's ability to weave a string of guitar harmonies that are overlapped with piercing interjections of rock riffs. This meets us from beneath the emotionally soaked vocals and take on a life of their own, instead of simply fading into background noise.
The band takes control of its sound and manipulates it expertly. Every break-down or rock-out is well calculated and flawlessly handled. All the musicians work hard to make sure there is never a dull moment on the CD, and each track is an unrelenting attack of catchy sound.
"Winter's Run" has an artistic and flavorful introduction that is startlingly well controlled considering the detail with which the instruments overlap various melodies. When the vocals do eventually hit, the instrumentals race to meet them, and the song is another example of the Track Line's upbeat, catchy style. The vocal content of the tracks are tinged with just enough darkness to make "poppy" a wary word, as are the occasionally rough interludes of guitar that add an extra edge to tracks that would otherwise be completely harmless.
The final track, "Letters To Summer," starts with a sharp medley of harmony that is somewhat awkwardly paired with an occasional burst of chord rhythm. Drums smash and bass pounds as the vocals overlap the ongoing melody to crank out any emotion left over at this point. The sound is very authentic, and by the time the album fades out, you feel incredibly satisfied with your relatively short yet enjoyable listening experience.
This record is a fast-paced trip through unblemished pop-punk sensibility from a band that has made a commonplace genre its own. Keep in mind that there are screws loose on this release, and I can tell that the band will go even farther to find a unique and individual sound for their next release, escaping the redundancy that comes from obvious influences.
All the same, "potential" is a poor word to describe the Track Record, because this is a CD showing that what they are already capable of is more than impressive. A brilliant move for Rushmore Records, the Track Record's album isn't worth passing up, no matter how typical they may seem on the surface. The album will be out April 19th.
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| S/T EP
|1) Plans To Wake Up On The Beach
2) Talk Radio
4) Winter's Run
5) Letters To Summer