Aberdeen City – Bright EP

Aberdeen City
Bright EP

My first thought upon listening to the first EP from Aberdeen City (formerly just Aberdeen) was that it sounded like Jeff Buckley or perhaps Robert Smith was singing to mid-90s shoegazer music. As odd and disconcerting as that image might paint, I absolutely love this EP. This five-piece Chicago band has created music that’s surprisingly fresh and very powerful.

From the opening clash of the title track, you can tell that this band owes a debt to the mid-90s shoegaze sound. Layered guitars and powerful percussion mix effortlessly while the singer’s voice soars, laden with effects but quite powerful. Brad Parker’s voice soars throughout the EP, getting soft and mellow at one moment, rich and powerful the next, and the combination of guitars, drums, bass, keyboards, and a variety of effects keep up with it perfectly.

Those effects – and Parker’s unique voice – keeps the EP from sounding like it’s too derivative of the mid-90s, making it feel much more modern. Much deeper and more mellow, “The Crater Song” is darker and more oppressive, with Parker’s voice sounding almost religious, and those electronic sounds flit around the surface of the song. It flows nicely into “Nightmare Me,” which makes fantastic use of layered electric guitars. The song builds slowly but tirelessly, dropping off and then building again on waves of guitar and those rich, mellow vocals, and there’s even hints of strings by the song’s climax. The beat on “Softly” feels throbbing, urgent, and the song goes from almost silent to crashing throughout its 8-minute length. Much more mellow and restrained, “Several Smaller Details” again rides on Parker’s vocals, and the closer, “Disregard as Trash” ends things nicely, feeling like it wraps up as a conclusion to “Several Smaller Details.”

I think it’s the vocals that really win me over here. Much more prominent than many shoegazer bands, they still have this great encompassing quality that melds perfectly with the music, and they keep the songs on a rich, mellow pace. Still, the multiple effects and little unique touches make this EP special. The band’s working on their debut full-length, and I think they’ll have little trouble finding a label and some encouraging fans.