Despite easy comparisons to early “alt” bands like the Pixies, this Seattle-based trio is, in reality, not so derivative. Though it all sounds a little familiar, what really emanates from Open Choir Fire’s new EP is an instinct for eclectic textures and mood creation.
For instance, “Oh Grace” begins like a lone prayer cradled in heavy guitar riffs, but when the backup vocals emerge in an angelic round-like style, it actually sounds like a choral piece. Even when singer/guitarist Amo DelBello breaks into the kind of gravelly growl you might hear from a death metal band, the lyrics stay graceful and the melody remains in an Elysian realm. “Candle” is a bit duskier, bound by a heavy bassline—something like “Sesame Street” gone ghost town. Almost every line of the song ends with DelBello asking, “How do you know?” sung in slithering minor key and punctuated by a disconcerting bark.
These details are what distinguish Open Choir Fire from the mountain of self-serious indie rockers who think affected vocals and cryptic songwriting is the ultimate goal. It’s a sample of solid craftsmanship, a preview of what they could do with a full-length venture. (Erika Fredrickson)
Open Choir Fire plays with RTX and Southerly at the Badlander Saturday, Nov. 17, at 9 PM. $5.