"If you're fucking cold, then I'm fucking freezing" is as ballsy a way as any to begin your EP. It shows an imbalanced relationship, a confrontational personality and an aggressive stance on the weather. It's also pretty damn funny. It's the path Chris Krasnow walks on Returning.
The EP is six tracks of angry music that primarily blends in elements of math rock and garage rock. Multi-instrumentalist Krasnow wrote, performed, recorded and mixed everything himself, which is incredible because upon the first few listens I thought he had a backing band. Krasnow is very in tune with himself, and very aware of his abilities. The guitar licks roll across the music as heavy drumming erupts from the chords' seams. Hints of desperation abound, from the introductory notes evolving into anxious chords to the spacious bass underneath the instrumental layers. Technically impressive, Krasnow wets his beak with some of his favorite genres. The thunderous metal in "Underdone" is both evocative and personal as Krasnow alternates between guitar-driven screaming and softer but still sinister talk-singing.
His voice is an interesting feature, nerdy, droll and impersonal all at once. He does sound standoffish most of the time (I just wanna play my guitar / And try not to think about you"), but the concept of the album is, after all, a messy breakup. On some lyrics his voice is ill-fitted for the delivery, like in "The Call," where an effort to experiment with shoe gazing is marred by dispirited lyrics matched by Krasnow's unconvincing drawls. By contrast, Krasnow is at his best on a track like "Bronchodilator," where staggered guitar work presents a much more agreeable rhythm for him to sing over.
Returning, despite its minor shortcomings, brims with confidence, and even at his most dour Krasnow still presents a great alternate for the homogenous pop we all seem to be surrounded by. And he's a hell of a lot more honest about how crappy emotions can make us feel.
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