4 out of 5
Label: Good to Die Records
Produced by: Matt Bayles
A crunchy, satisfying hunk of post-punk, Constant Lovers gathers various folks from different walks of indie rockin’ life and lets them loose on Experience Feelings’ 10 tracks, exceptionally produced to punchy greatness by Matt Bayles. The magic is in the distinct groove the group is consistently able to tap in to: while executed with punky fervor, and shouted across rooftops by always-energized lead Joel Culpin, there’s an understanding of / appreciation for rock and roll surging throughout this thing, that backs almost every track with a sense of rhythm. Having that backbone in place, when the group decides to snap it – ouch – it’s an awesome surprise, often led by Ben Verellen’s masterful drum pummeling pushing the pace down some new, jagged avenue. That said, there’s also an element of control: everyone here plays at volume, but there’s the aforementioned core, around which the songs push and pull – albeit at an amped up level. Occasionally things teeter towards always-on, particularly in the album’s middle, and that’s when tracks lose some definition, but these are still good jams, just a little more on the noise end of things versus rock.
I was very pleasantly surprised by Bayles work on this. Matt has a particular approach that tends to shave off the sharp edges of things, creating a very crisp, almost electronic edge to whatever he’s capturing, which has been a good approach for more complex groups like Botch or Minus the Bear, but doesn’t always work with groups that benefit from some looseness, like Blood Brothers. Experience Feelings has the producer’s crispness, but he allowed a lot of room for Constant Lovers to fill the recording space themselves – the record has this perfect blend of arena-sized rock and barroom intimacy as a result.
A great sounding, ultra-fun set of tracks.