Release Date: May 24, 2011
Record label: Carpark Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Indie Electronic
Seeing a song called "Mountain Home" in 2011 might suggest something more freak folk or black metal -- not to mention a later song entitled "National Parks," with all the implications of nature in unchanged repose -- but with the nervous synth shimmer and high-pitched vocals of Sarah Reynolds, it's clearer that the mountains in question might be the ones on Construction Time Again. Not that EAR PWR are specifically out to clone Depeche Mode; if anything, they're still a band of their time in the easy mix of electronic leads and acoustic percussion fills, a sense of understated if increasingly common mix and match. There's a general sprightliness in both melody and singing throughout that steers away from anything like a minimal wave revival in favor of more openly cheery and peppy sounds on songs like "Baby Houses" and the singing about a "Milky Way in my brain" on "Feel It.
It would be a stretch to call ‘electronic pop music’ a genre, in its current, splintered form. But you could at least declare it an umbrella, and accepting this, it is surely one of the more significant umbrellas of the last few decades. Luring under its canopy the most forward thinking and critically fawned upon rock bands of the era, it has grown exponentially in stature, and developed a voice as marketable as it is artistically versatile.
You know the ol’ rock music cliché: a self-titled album from a young band implies a sense of self-discovery, of maturity, of sonic development. No more screwing around with concept albums. No more eight-minute guitar solos or ill-fated “world music” excursions. It’s the point in a band’s career when everybody says, “Hey, guys—let’s stop messing around and start taking this shit seriously!” For North Carolina duo Ear Pwr (comprised of Devin Booze and Sarah Reynolds), the stars seem aligned for a more serious artistic makeover.