Review: The Loner(s) / Drive Me Home Please

The Loner(s) / Drive Me Home Please - Split
(2016 Bangkok Blend)

There's a lovely contrast that gravitationally binds the two sides of this comfy twee-pop cassette - beneath their shared cloak of low-fidelity gloom is a tonal dichotomy between The Loner(s)' mumbled obscurity and Drive Me Home Please's cramped intimacy. The former act, hailing from Rochester, New York, eases into his half of the untitled split tape with gentle acoustic fingerpicking that dissolves against a pane of fuzz like a early winter snowfall that refuses to stick to the pavement - it's a morning's walk to school, as nebulous and muffled as a weary, post-coffee consciousness and warmed by a Marshmallow Coast sweater of keyboard - the tattered remains of December optimism. "I Wanna Get Addicted To Painkillers" continues The Loner(s)' trickle down the veins of suburban decay, poking icy needles through a thin layer of frantically strummed power chords. The A-Side's closing cut, "How To", delves into a sing-song chord progression that recalls the twang of Pavement, accompanied by a cute sliver of landline phone-key synth that drives the song forward - its vocals are softly intoned as if to avoid waking someone in the adjacent room.

On the flip side - Drive Me Home Please (also based in Rochester) composes more minimal synthesizer arrangements that are delivered with a sharp sense of confidence despite its bedroom-pop trappings. The opening cut pairs a barebones piano intro with an anthemic chorus caked in noise - the clean vocals feel jarringly present, like a ear-tickling whisper spoken just a bit too loud. DMHP's self-titled second cut resembles an emo take on southern gospel chord organ songcraft, its warm drones laced with post-punk riffage. The tape concludes with its most adventurous effort, "Apple Cider Vinegar": seven minutes worth of American Football post-rock that slowly builds to a crescendo that never comes - it's wonderfully trance inducing and, in its latter half, subtly heart-wrenching.

Terse and texturally diverse, this split is consistently solid and deserves a few early morning spins on the way to work or school - it's music for waking up to.