Smoke Signals by Stop.Drop.Rewind. is a status report, a document of a particular place in a band's evolution as they sought to flesh out the bass-and-drums template.
Stop.Drop.Rewind. have described themselves as "when emo kids grow up and get jazz degrees," equal parts Fall Out Boy and '70s prog. The early '00s prog worship has created a generation who genuinely value musicianship and can actually play and write. Like many prog bands of any generation Stop.Drop.Rewind. write dense and unraveling sonic tapestries with very little repetition and hardly a hook or chorus in sight. Which makes Smoke Signals more like a short story or poetry collection over choppy guitars and powerhouse drumming.
Props to Stop.Drop.Rewind. for "Concrete Parts,” which attempts to describe the very confusing and layered modern world, daring to talk about social media in the context of leaving a lasting legacy and doing something meaningful with your life over a frayed Robert Fripp guitar line. It's actually not cringe worthy, in the way that some songs from a few years ago that mention MySpace are. It's just them being honest, looking at the world around them.
"Leonard Cohen" rounds things out on this short three-song EP, showing more heart and depth than the metallic bombast of the first two tracks. "Leonard Cohen" sounds like it could be an acoustic Death Cab For Cutie outtake as Kris Lohn's surreal and subjective lyrics spiral out like some half-remembered fever dream. Again, not exactly sing-along stuff but poetic and poignant, intimating at things to come.
Stop.Drop.Rewind. hail from Valparaiso, Indiana, where the duo moved for college, which is a cultural black hole in the middle of a cornfield so Stop.Drop.Rewind. deserve double props and undivided attention for striving towards such ambitious heights and overcoming the inertia of midwestern blindness.
Stop.Drop.Rewind. are more prog metal than emo, thankfully, so I can get on board. They still fall back on the heroic vocal harmony style that I've never really cared for but everything's well put together and the instrumental parts are mind-melting and well worth the cost of admission.
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