Chasing Traces of You – S/T EP

I love the fact that I live in the midst of so many really good rock bands here in Detroit. No matter what style of rock I look for, I can find it around these parts – garage, metal, math, screamy, emo – it’s all here, and oftentimes, genres are intertwined within a single band’s sound. It seems to me, though, that some of the simplest, no frills, hyper-emotional stuff comes off the best.
The very tight dual-guitar rhythm passages in basically every song keep Chasing Traces of You from technically being labeled as ‘simple,’ but when it comes down to a final affirmation, this EP just plain rocks hard. Vocalist/guitarist Jon Berz’s lyrics are deeply personal, but when combined with the crunching guitars, they come off poetic and fleshed out, giving his voice more resonance that it would have in a different setting.
As with most of this two-guitar stuff, though, the crunching rhythm riffs are what make Chasing Traces of You such a contender for multiple listens. The chord progression for the chorus of “Be Careful What You Wish For” is as catchy as anything bands like the Get Up Kids have written in years, only the rhythm is slowed down just enough to make it seem a bit more forceful than peppy. When Berz’s voice wails over the guitars, he declares, “But I was never satisfied with you,” you can almost imagine hearing the song echo in an arena somewhere. The same can be said for the ringing chorus to “In Movies,” though in all honesty, the staggering, fluttering rhythm riffs during the verse structures to both songs are just as infectious as the crunchy choruses, just in a more underlying way.
“She Paints in Black and White” takes a stun-gun rhythm riff and turns it into a crisp rocker, and “Wake Up, Beautiful” bounces from a quirky, chopped-up riff into chugging chords in mid-verse, eventually dragging the chorded rhythm out a bit for the chorus. Chasing Traces save the most powerful track for last, as the band completely decimates anything else on the disc with the loping bassline and guitar barrage that breaks out 50 seconds into “Desperation, You Won’t Be Missed.” The bass plugs along during the verses, with some quick single-note guitar noodles starting the buildup back to a reprise of the original guitar breakout.
I’m so spoiled, having the tastes that I have and living in the midst of the bands I’ve discovered around the Detroit area. I don’t necessarily think this disc will completely change the mindset of anyone that’s not already into this kind of thing, but this EP is solid as hell either way. Tony the Tiger says, “Chasing Traces of You? They’re GRRRRREAT!”