November 29, 2005

Bound Stems "The Logic of Building the Body Plan"

Bound Stems hail from Chi-town and make quirky and mellow indie-rock. Though they formed in 2002, and self-released two singles, they won't release their debut album, Appreciation Night, until next summer. That's a bit of a wait, especially for a band that's been around that long. In the meantime, they decided to make a formal introduction, choosing to release a little record containing two songs from their full length, three outtakes and two sonic compositions.

The Logic of Building the Body Plan is about as consistent as any record containing finished album tracks and b-sides would be. Some songs are stronger than others; there's a bit of a Bright Eyes vibe on "Totipotent" and "Wake Up, Ma and Pa Are Gone," which is either good or bad, depending on your tolerance of Conor Oberst. Personally, this world contains one Bright Eyes too many, and I'm not keen on these two numbers. (Okay, on second listen, it must be admitted that the groove on "Totipotent" is really nice, even if the singing makes me winsome.) Not surprisingly, the two songs from their forthcoming album, "My Kingdom for a Trundle Bed" and "Risking Life and Limb for the Coupon" fare better; they're mellow rock, with pretty, chiming guitars and excellent singing. Opening song "Crimes & Follies" isn't bad, either; it's a jaunty number, and though Bobby Galivan's attempts at falsetto fall short, his attempts are charming. "Up All Night" also highlights another potential strength: female singing. Hopefully, Appreciation Night will more prominently feature Kate Gross's singing.

Ultimately, The Logic of Building the Body Plan isn't bad. It's not bad at all. This is a pleasant little record, and it's quite successful at whetting the appetite. Here's to the future of Bound Stems!

--Joseph Kyle

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