Ohio has a reputation for producing some remarkable music, everything from Lovedrug to Relient K to Dead Poetic. It's a tradition that continues with a band that has an interestingly long name. If I Ever See You Out Of Town is a five-piece band that hails from Cincinnati. Because of that name, they will henceforth be referred to as "the band" in this review. They've been playing together for at least a couple of years, spending much of that time writing the songs that would become their debut, A Place To Build Planes.
The album was recorded in three days with engineer Evan Weiss (not to be confused with the Evan Weiss of Into It. Over It.) and was then mixed by singer Matt Vollet, who actually has a Bachelor's in recording arts. His time studying appears to have paid off, as this is a remarkably well-mixed album for a band's debut. It's even more remarkable as a DIY project. The band themselves are often compared to Modest Mouse, a description that is very apt, especially if you think of a Modest Mouse that is fronted by Laura Jane Grace of Against Me. While Vollet has a lot of vocal influence from the like of Andy Hull and Jesse Lacy, his voice is all Against Me in tone.
The album is very cohesive, despite the band spending much of the time exploring what they can do, sonically. Taking Back Sunday can be heard in the opener "Bad Bad Man" with the occasional screams and rhythm-oriented guitars that match the drums for much of the song. The album continues with a sound that harks back to the glory days of indie rock and the Internet, circa 2005-2006. Emo mixes with a poppy upbeat feel ("Catacombs", "Copper") while "Landmines" and "Weight of the World" feel like brand new B-sides. "Daredevil Birds,” originally a Matt Vollet solo song, is straightforward singer-songwriter material complete with a classic rock guitar solo.
There even seems to be references to The Frames ("Forevermore", "God Only Knows") and the blues ("Devil Take Note"). The album covers a lot of ground and does so really well. I'm looking forward to hearing what If I Ever See You Out Of Town has in store for the future.
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