Diastemata – S/T EP

Diastemata
S/T EP

Ah, we’ve seen this before haven’t we? One guy, one girl. That’s it. The beautiful union of two people making music. Quasi. The White Stripes. Rainer Maria (for the most part). Diastemata, the name Meade Krosby and Patrick Mucklow call themselves, hail from Washington DC, and they’ve just released their first EP. Now, half the fun of listening to the duos mentioned above is trying to figure out just what the hell is going on between the couple. Quasi’s birds are divorced. Jack and Meg White claim to be brother and sister, but the media usually hints otherwise. And Rainer Maria basks in all the glory of one failed collegiate relationship. So just how do Meade and Patrick fit together? Well, by last names alone, we can assume that they’re not siblings, and beyond that, I’d rather not speculate. Fortunately, this brief five-song EP provides quite enough conversation material by itself.
Quite frankly, Diastemata are good. They bring some quite interesting twists to this tired format. First of all, the female in the group does all of the singing and guitar-playing. Her male counterpart focuses solely on drum duties, which he ably, if unspectacularly, handles. The power and creation in the group comes mostly from Meade. First of all, she’s quite a good guitarist. Her trebly compositions snake around the mix, ringing, chiming, slinking, sneaking, darting. They sound like a mix between the call-and-answer guitar push of Sleater-Kinney and the angular, formless compositions of Diastemata’s DC brethren. Her voice isn’t quite as accomplished: it sounds much like the tired, almost-but-not-quite vocal style of Rainer Maria. At times, it’s charming as hell, at other times, you really wish that she would hit that note. But for the most part its very listen-able, in that it doesn’t detract from the listening experience.
If Diastemata does have a fault, it’s that their songs sound quite a bit alike. I’m four or five listens in now, and most of the time I still don’t know what song I’m listening to. This is partly due to Meade’s slinky but similar guitar parts. “Panoramic” opens the CD, and it’s a bit more frantic than the other four tracks. The closer, “Slope,” is a restrained piece that teeters on a meltdown that never quite gets there. It’s one of the EP’s best. The opening riff for “Deliverance” is particularly impressive, though it fails to distinguish itself as a song. None of the melodies on these songs are by any means bad, but none really grab your attention or stick in your memory – typical of bands in the DC scene.
Obviously, Diastemata have their problems – repetition being their biggest transgression. The music, however, is excellent, and there’s loads of talent in this band. This EP is by no means a classic. It’s merely pretty good. But it’s also the first five songs put out by two very talented people. More should come, and if they evolve their sound and talent, we could see big things from Diastemata.