Neuro-Typical – The Long Walk EP

The Long Walk EP

Let me just say that I have no problems at all with experimental or home recordings. Low budget, lo-fi, d.i.y. affairs can be intimate experiences and often reveal greater depth and substance than over-polished, overwrought major studio fare. But there has to be some sort of discretion between what is used for private listening and what is distributed to the public for consumption. Case in point is Neuro-Typical’s six-song EP The Long Walk. This poor recording sounds like the band decided to string up a couple of mikes in the ol’ rehearsal space and run them through a Fisher Price ‘My First Boom Box’. I have recorded this way myself, and it always turn out exactly the same. The method is a formula for annihilating audio quality, and inevitably it is the rhythm section that suffers the most: the snare and toms sound like paper plates being pounded with chopsticks, the cymbals are awkwardly loud, and the bass tone is muddy, when it can be heard at all. It probably wouldn’t sound so bad if the band didn’t insist on being so dynamic.
Normally I would have nothing but praise for this all-important, often overlooked songwriting element, but every time Neuro-Typical kicks on the distortion, the recording level mysteriously drops and suddenly everything sounds as if it’s coming from some other room down the hall. A word of advice, fellas: just because you can hear every nuance and chord progression buried in your no doubt painstakingly constructed songs, doesn’t mean that we can, too. Some parts here are simply inaudible. This is a murky, muddled, unbalanced mess of a recording.
It’s a damn shame, too. I had to don my headphones to clarify the music, but when I did I was pleasantly surprised. Neuro-Typical write clever and crafty indie-rock/emo songs with simple but effective arrangements. The twin guitar assault they employ is particularly impressive, elegantly juxtaposed to build tension and heighten the sense of drama. At times they are soft and bittersweet, quiet and reflective like sparkling moonlit pools, and at others they are thick and aggressive like twin jackhammers, providing a good backdrop for the soaring and spacious vocals, which move from a fragile wisp to a soul-shaking roar. “Could You/Would You” features some gorgeous acoustic strumming and tender vocals providing a nice melodic center for this EP to revolve around. It’s a nice respite from the swirling storm of soft-to-loud guitars that surround it.
More than anything I’m impressed with the pacing of thier music. Neuro-Typical never rushes into anything and nothing here sounds forced. Wisely, the group allows the music to come to them and lets the songs occur naturally without constricting their flow or dictating their direction. It’s a neat trick that even more mature and established bands have difficulty pulling off. Now if they could just get themselves a decent recording they would be doing us all a service.