People Places Things hails from a city I am all too familiar with, Knoxville, TN. Everything comes full circle with their new album No Cause For Alarm. The album's theme is essentially a coming of age tale. It deep dives into all things uncomfortable, awkward, and nail biting anxiety. While in the process of recording this album the band confessed to becoming better musicians in the process. The sound achieved in this album is one that hearkens back to the peak of ’90s garage pop. The music is the product of study and research done by the band to create the very specific aesthetic that appeals to the hearts of many ‘90s kids, myself included.
On a musical level I felt very at home with No Cause For Alarm. The riffs are quirky and often lighthearted but then saturated with delay and reverb. It's like the music is shrink wrapped with all the traces of the ’90s stuffed inside. There's little touches of ska, grunge and punk all bundled together. Dangerously cool bass lines and high strung guitar riffs help illustrate the angst and turmoil they address with their narrative. The lyrics are good, when I can make them out. I do have to take issue with the treatment of the vocals. I don't mind that there was heavy electronic treatment done to the vocals, I actually think that's appropriate for their aesthetic. My problem is I had to dig very deep to make out the words. There's just a bit too much layered on top which is too bad, because what I could hear was interesting. I feel like getting the lyrics out would be key to handbook aspect of this album.
The recording process is so ingrained in what makes this album what it is. The members pooled together their resources as far as equipment was concerned. They added to their inventory of necessary tools as needed. The band then proceeded to embark on a recording and mixing journey that would take place in various basements over a couple of years. Their weapon of choice is Ableton Live. The album is very reverb heavy which was done by use of the Max 4 Live convolution reverb plugin. When it came to delay, they favored U-He satin tape machine emulator. Their methodical attention to detail did manage to create an effective time traveling effect.
I commend the band on this accomplishment and taking their time to educate themselves on how to achieve their goals. For the final leg of production for the album, they sought professional help for mastering. I do wonder that more could have been done on the mixing or mastering end to further dig out the lyrics.
If you're looking to get back to a decade where frosted tips were in their infancy and still socially accepted you might wanna check this album out. People Places Things did manage to recreate the endearing method of turning life's least tolerable things into catchy rock songs.
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