2^36^2 – S/T EP


This mathematically named band is primarily a duo, although they get some help on slide guitar on one song. Focused around Jen Strickland’s angry growl of a voice and her wailing, scratchy guitar sound, these four songs are hard and slightly punky yet still more of a straightforward guitar-rock sound. Adequately backed up by Tim Morse on drums (and clarinet), the duo makes loud, fast rock.

The assault on “Adrenaline” isn’t just from Strickland’s guitar but also her voice, which brings to mind angry crooners like PJ Harvey at times, even reaching to a bit of a scream when the mood strikes her. A bit more rhythm focused, “Kings & Queens” may be my favorite song here. Instead of letting Strickland’s voice carry the whole song, the guitar and drums mix better, allowing her growling, desperate sounding voice to really flow with the song. And Morse’s drumming gets a chance to shine as well. By the end of this song, when Strickland erupts in wailing the lyrics, the song gets even more intriguing.

On “Unbelievable,” the band slows down a bit, creating almost a folk-like ballad. Clarinet and slide guitar give the song just a hint of a dreamy quality, and sudden Strickland is singing more than wailing, and ya know what? Her voice is actually quite nice. A quieter song like this is necessary to break up the band’s heavier style. Back up to speed, “Ocean” is another example of the band’s slightly gothic like rock approach. Guitars wail and swirl, and Strickland’s angry voice goes from sultry to crazy at the drop of a hat.

I’m not quite sure how well html will let me reproduce the band’s name, and perhaps they’d be better served spelling it out as two-cubed-six-squared. Something about the abrasive nature of Strickland’s vocals makes these songs a somewhat difficult listen, and while that’s not exactly a bad thing, there are moments when the vocals are used to a better result. Still, primarily fast songs with plenty of strong guitar and stronger vocals makes this debut EP pretty fun.