Out of Season is a two-band split 12” from Inflated Records that presents two Irish Groups, So Cow on Side A and Squarehead on Side B. It pairs two up-and-comers, delivering successful and enjoyable mid-tempo power-pop for the most part.
So Cow is a three-piece (previously one-man band) who plays 1960s influenced poppy stuff with a bit of modern quirk and dynamics shifting for nuance and unpredictability. “Waltzer” is a great sample, with more guitar than some of the other cuts, but it builds around a crisp ‘60s melodic chorus with a number of bass flourishes that give an adorably awkward feel to draws the ear away from the shiny pop current that truly powers it at its core. “Days from the Ninth” is similar in structure, even grabbing some vintage imagery about ice cream melting and dropping a “na na na” chorus while, essentially, singing about the beauty of life. That’s not to say it’s all crisp and retro, though. The 56-second “Ruanne vs. the A-Bomb” pounds of punk fury and “Laundry Service” has some Weezer shades but a bit sunnier tone.
On the Squarehead side the 1990s are more at play, especially with in the distortion/feedback category. Squarehead’s songs really play on big, poppy choruses and dynamic shifts, at times bringing 1990s Paul Westerberg to mind, as in “Sicknote,” which opens with a big hook, and doesn’t let up on the power-pop side of things. Meanwhile, the louder, more aggressive songs, such as closer “Harkin’ On” show a clear Nirvana influence, in which the vocal tradeoffs give a coarse interruption to the harmonious choruses. It’s good stuff, with a keen ear for melody but a hesitation to build a song solely around that one element while losing their shit and rocking out sporadically. Really, that trait extends to both bands showcased here, which is why it’s such a good pairing and begs the listener to seek out some full-lengths.
7.3 / 10
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