||Rock | Ambient
||30 April 2013
Sometimes you can just tell that a lot of work is put into something. Not just physical labor, but thoughts and feeling. Be Water’s EP is like that. There are a lot of things you can come away with in regards to a release like this, but the work and passion is evident almost from the first note.
This southern New Jersey four piece makes some very solid third wave. While a lot of this genre can come off as background music, this EP challenges the listener, especially in its later songs. There’s simply a lot going on at times, but without overburdening the ear.
While the straight out third wave stuff is solid, be water seems to excel at atmospherics and ambiance. At first listen I was about ready to write this off as a typical third wave clone…but the last track off this 4 song EP is honestly so full of depth and mood it persuaded me to give the whole of the album more of a chance.
The aptly named “catharsis” very much embodies the shifting emotions of working things out of one’s system, with an uplifting finish. To me, the jewel of these tracks is the EP ender, “The Shepherd is Sleeping.” With great spoken word samples found sounds, and a huge sounding ambient feel, Be Water show a more experimental side. There is a great amount of nuance in this track, and the repeat listening value is very high. Here is when be water really escapes the mold of third wave, and it’s by far my favorite track on the EP.
Everything is very well produced and recorded, especially for what I gather is a home recording job. The mix is great, and stands up under a heavy scrutiny. Instruments sound as they should, except when they shouldn’t, which is also done with much aplomb. The band is tight and the low end sways as nicely as the high end glimmers. Drums pound in the less understated moments, and the cymbal work is solid. The snare sounds particularly nice here.
I would love to rate this higher, and I think Be Water has great potential, but I can’t bring myself to ignore the case of third wave post rock-itus that the first track, ”A Stampede” evokes, however solidly done it is. All the songs could be a bit shorter (the average is 10 minutes) but not drastically. It’s the inventiveness I hear in the short second track “You Weren’t There,” and “The Shepherd is Sleeping” that ultimately makes me long for more…thereby making the other offerings that much less appealing due to their ubiquity.
The bottom line is that this is a solid release from some talented guys who are definitely keeping it real, and have the potential for making exceptional music, especially if they follow the experimental path.