Sinai Vessel

Profanity EP

Written by: TL on 01/05/2014 14:18:10

It's a harsh reality but as we browse through the submissions sent to us asking to be reviewed, it really is startlingly apparent in just a few moments - and seemingly regardless of genre as well - which bands have some songwriting panache and which ones that sound like they're barely piecing things together. Hence it's always nice when you pop on a song like "Cats", which opens the EP "Profanity" from North Carolina trio Sinai Vessel with an instantly atmospheric and anthemic guitar bit which sounds like something from a recent Wonder Years record and quickly makes you feel like something is worth listening up for.

And that's almost all it takes for me to dive into reviewing the group, whose mix of clean and distorted guitar as well as melodious and raspy vocals positions them in a confessional somewhere between the midwest punk-rock of recently and the emo songwriter style of even more recently. You sense quickly that guitarist/bassist/singer Caleb Cordes has things that he wants to sing about and wants to be heard, enough that he bothers to sing clear enough for you to make out the words (gasp, how modern!), and there's a certain desperation in his peculiar turns of phrase that should instantly get fans of Captain, We're Sinking and The Hotelier on their toes to hear if there's any more from where those came from.

Truthfully though, Sinai Vessel's songwriting isn't quite that developed, as the eyepopping lines and quirky guitar parts burst through a bit irregularly and never find the sense of direction that makes the listener feel a meaningful connection between the dots. "Drown Around" is a good example of this, sporting both a nice drop in tempo down to some chunky guitar chords, as well as a nice change-up in gear to follow before some atmosphere-inducing horns come in courtesy of brass player David Wimbish. It just sorely needs something to tie it together, such as the "Daddy please let me pick the party!" hook in EP highlight "Cuckold", which is probably mainly responsible for sparking some curiosity for following Cordes' thoughtful lines of reasoning. Symptomatically you simply wait too long to sing "Just good country people with bad city hearts" in a song like "Flannery".

As such, Sinai Vessel strikes me - with their self-proclaimed "punk rock for sissies" - like a band that has found a vein of thoughtful, "realist", punk-rock which should already start to appeal to those who like to get in deep with both lyrical subject matter and underground punk references, but at the same time the songs need to find more direction and immediacy if Cordes and his friends hope to advance to the forefront of hype where some of the band's I've compared them to deservedly reside at the moment. "Profanity" is thus a bit of an early content-over-form record that will likely prove worthwhile to those that have time and patience for delving, yet will also likely remain in the shadow of other more well-rounded efforts as time leaves it behind.

7

Download: Cuckold, Cats, Drown Around
For The Fans Of: Captain, We're Sinking; The Hotelier; Piebald; The Wonder Years (but mellower than all of them)
Listen: facebook.com/sinaivessel

Release date 12.03.2014
Self-released

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