AUTUMN SWEATER - First Session

Autumn Sweater - First Session

6 songs
22:27 minutes
***** ****


So many new indie rock bands surfaced all over the world, including Luxembourg, recently, yet most of them perform a modern outlook that just canít get my attention. The genre has become too mellow and polished, with bands possibly hoping to draw larger audiences, but the grittiness of indie rockís roots has all but disappeared. Thatís why I was not too eager to check out Autumn Sweater, but considering that their debut EP First Session is streamable on Bandcamp convinced me to at least spend a few minutes with their music. Also the fact that the band took their name from a song from Yo La Tengoís landmark album I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One from 1997 may have swayed my indecision.

And how gigantic was my surprise with the opening chords of Traffic Is Fine, the EPís first track. Autumn Sweater sound as if they had just climbed from a time machine, offering the very best of gnarly indie rock from the mid-Nineties. Bands like Pavement, Guided By Voices and Beck come to mind, and the noisy part later on even reminds me of Sonic Youth. The lyrics and the vocals are kind of laconic, working well with the instrumentation that comes across as quite carefree although never lazy. Especially the dual guitar work is excellent, drawing parallels to the seminal Television. Most bands never manage to come up with such a great song, and these guys put it right on the beginning of their first EP! The following Lipstick is a more laidback track where a certain lo-fi attitude shines through. Maybe not as groundbreaking as the opener, but there are traces of Danish singer/songwriter Jacob Faurholt to be made out, although this might very well be coincidental. Next up is once again a more upbeat track. Kilimanjaro starts out slowly enough but soon gains momentum and evolves into a melancholic yet not dreary indie rock song, with the emphasis clearly on "rock".

The second half begins with another quiet track. Some Place Beyond is another lo-fi ballad that adds a certain Americana tinge and ends during its second half with an ethereal reprise that shows that this young band is also quite apt at building goosebumps inducing atmosphere. Neon is a somewhat weird track, with a bass line running through the song, and the guitars sounding not as effervescent as on the remaining material. Maybe this was the bandís take on post punk, but they are clearly better at what they do otherwise. The album ends on a high note with the bouncy Sitting Here, for which they also made a video clip. The chorus is incredibly infectious, and the subliminal punk vibe Ė think The Undertones or Buzzcocks on a melodic day Ė turns this track into another unexpected work of genius.

First Session is of course only a first sign of life, but the band did already more than just very well. The music smartly combines a clear production with an honest lo-fi down-to-earthness, and even the fact that the musicians are not yet that old to have consciously lived through the high times of indie rock music, it is obvious that they really love the genre and put all of their heartsí blood into writing a great tribute to one of the greatest kinds of music ever. Letís hope that we wonít have to wait too long for their Second Session.

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