Through the Wire is a Phoenix, AZ guitar-and-drums duo that has released Man in Red as their debut EP. They were quite efficient in their recording process, tracking the entire four-cut EP in just one day. “It was a good day. We had pizza for lunch,” they tell us.
It’s clear that Through the Wire worked hard on their pre-production. Their typical song has a few different sections, and they transition smoothly across different tempos and feels. The tracks have multiple parts as well--it’s not just two guys in a live room. Guitars and vocals are layered, often offering counterpoint to each other. They’ve also mixed in long sections of guitar feedback as “thickener” in lieu of keyboards. This is a nice unique touch for their sound… and all of this in just one day!
The band grabs us right away with the uptempo rock drums and power chords of “In the Middle,”reminiscent of some of the better alt-rock of the early 2000s. The intro is just a tease, though, as the song takes a darker turn. The band breaks out a descending minor riff, a slower tempo, and some breathy, almost whispered vocals. The middle, major-chord section, offers a nice contrast, and the whole track is drenched in various guitar tones and parts. It’s a solid slab of modern rock.
The guitars keep coming with a burst of feedback kicking off “Psychobilly Crabshack” before it drops into a riff-y, evil, tuned-down garage rocker. The bridge--a section of power-chord punk--was a little jarring at first listen, but made sense the second time through. This was my personal favorite of the four songs on the EP.
“Nina Simone” is the most original track on the album. Through the Wire combines a familiar rock drum pattern with jazzy extended chords in their shout-out to the great singer. Over the top, they croon a delicate melody with a humorous lyric: “If Nina Simone was mine / Would she feel ashamed? / Love is a fickle thing.” This cut would be right at home on college radio.
“Paint the Night” finishes the disc. The track is a bit more dramatic in its construction, sounding a bit like 1980s-era U2 in parts of the verse; the chorus echoes some of the chords from “Nina Simone,” offering a nice bit of continuity. The drumming is a particular highlight here, filling in space nicely between some of the chiming guitar chords and the shout-along “hey! hey! hey!”s.
Man in Red is an entertaining, original piece of work. It will grow on you with each additional spin. Recommended!
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