The Falling – Cardinal EP

The Falling
Cardinal EP

The Falling call the Cardinal EP a parody of groups like Rye Coalition and At the Drive-In. A parody would seem to represent making a mockery of the original. Instead, this CD takes a page from those bands, throws in a hefty dose of the band’s original style of rock, and clobbers you over the head with it.
Let’s assume it’s not a parody, shall we? The Falling here play a style of music akin to the aforementioned bands, also taking a page or two from Fugazi. While fans of The Falling might not expect this kind of urgent intensity, the trio performs it meticulously and with a charged edginess. The guitars blister away with a hint of melodicism, the drums rage underneath, and the bass throbs, reminding me as much of new garage-rockers like The Vines as oldies like Fugazi with a hint of old-school emo thrown in.
The band begins with a heady dose of straight-up rock, piling on powerful rhythm, garage-rock-like guitars, and dual vocals that drip with Strokes-esque attitude. But veterans of several years and several releases, the band adds their own intense sound to the style. It’s not quite as good as “The Grand March,” however, which follows a throbbing bass and clashing drums with a bit of Fugazi thrown in for good measure. On “Jane,” singer/songwriter/guitarist Tyler McDaniel lets his guitars lead the pace, while the rhythm rumbles underneath. And as it fades off with shouted lyrics, it sets the stage for the all-out rock assault of “Bedroom Walls.” The vocals are especially strong here, low and moody one moment, lofty and desperate the next. But it’s the seven-minute closer, “Toward the Night,” that’s my favorite. Starting with a brooding melodic guitar, it builds, as the vocals are spoken with that kind of old-school moody desperation that sounds so startling and sometime sung with a quiet solitude.
I’m going to assume that The Falling have taken this release seriously; it’s hard to imagine a parody of other bands turning out this good, this honest, and this intense. Unfamiliar with the band, I’ve read they’re as likely to break into a Pearl Jam cover as a countrified rock song. If that’s true, this represents a more modern and hardcore-leaning effort, and it’s stellar. Taking it on its own merits and not as a “parody,” it’s an excellent, urgent release.