Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start – S/T EP

Five more songs from this ambitious and inventive band, this new EP shows how a talented group of musicians can take a very respected style – aggressive post-rock, a la Fugazi and Jawbreaker – and take it in a new direction. A bit less experimental and far-reaching than the band’s first full-length, this EP is nonetheless tighter and more precise, taking the sound in a more rock-focused direction (and laying off a bit on the intricate math-rock) while not forsaking the complex rhythms, jazzy melodies, and unique vocal stylings.
Despite the aggressive rhythm and blazing guitar riffs on the opening “Down to the Day,” the cool, breeze vocals and the stirring bassline gives the song a more intricate, more inviting feel. “Come Away” has the energy and power of a hardcore song, the backup vocalist almost nearing a scream as the lead vocalist croons his own vocals softly. Chugging guitars and powerful rhythms make this the heaviest song I’ve heard from this band, but those moments are interspersed with more moody breakdowns.
By contrast, “Please Come to Me” is more intricate, filled with keyboards and even strings (unfortunately mixed a tad too low to be as prominent as I usually like), this song is more atmospheric and pretty, yet still with powerful percussion keeping it in form with its predecessor. It’s short, though, and leads right back into the rock with “Strike 2,” perhaps the only disappointing song here. Too straightforward and emo in style, the song’s saving grace is the band’s terrific vocal delivery – melodic and nicely layered while still aggressive. Finally, “Them All” closes off with some excellent vocal melodies, stirring bass, and a more melodic feel. The strings make their strongest appearance here and take the song in a soaring, grandiose direction that marks a climactic finish.
My guess is that Up Up Down Down – as it’s so much easier to call this band – is going for a more aggressive sound, although they may just be putting together that style of songs for this EP. This is definitely more powerful and aggressive than the band’s debut album, and I admit that I miss some of the intricacies that made their full-length so unique. This one feels more emo, more traditionally post-hardcore. And that being said, it’s still extremely tight, extremely well done. Even if their name is a mouthful, it wouldn’t surprise me if it became a household name.