Album Review: Ending People’s Fill Your Lungs

Ending People

Fill Your Lungs

Cash Cow Production

Release Date: October 30, 2012

 

Track Listing

1.     Beat of My Heart

2.     Tiny Little Army

3.     I’m Not Coming Back

4.     Amazing Grace

5.     Mouthful

6.     Pretender, Part 1

 

Personnel

Erin Roberts – vocals and keyboards

Jeff Davenport – guitar and bass

Tim Hussman – backing vocals, snyths, and drums

Justin Croft – bass and synths

 

Ending People is a Denver, CO-based quartet of well-respected musicians – each with a fairly impressive pedigree preceding them. Lead vocalist Erin Roberts has had stints in Porolo, D. Biddle, and the touring bands of Castanets and Phosphorescent. Guitarist and bassist Jeff Davenport has played alongside Roberts in Porolo and D. Biddle, and was a member of Dust on the Breakers. Originally hailing from Texas, synths and drummer, Tim Hussman played alongside Davenport in Dust on the Breakers, and he has had stints in Aster and Crooked Fingers. And bassist Justin Croft was a member of Nathan and Stephen, now known as Hearts of Palm. In some small fashion they are much like Denver’s indie rock All Star team – with Davenport being the figurative connective tissue.

   The band formed roughly a year ago, and Fill Your Lungs serves as the quartet’s official debut and from the opening track, “Beat of My Heart,” it’s obvious that the band specializes in the sort of atmospheric, mood-driven, dreamy New Wave reminiscent of the Fixx’s “Sign of Fire,” and “Red Skies at Night,” Echo and the Bunnymen, Siouxsie and the Banshees and even The Unforgettable Fire-era U2. You’ll hear chiming, angular guitar chords played with varying amounts of reverb and delay pedal, undulating, droning synth lines, deep bass and unusual syncopation. In some way, because the material hews quite closely to it’s influences, I think the band will be both fairly and unfairly compared to some great acts that have released some really outstanding albums. Indeed, the differences here are subtle but if you pay attention, the album reveals worthwhile pleasures – Roberts’ vocals add a deepening sense of unease and dread to music that’s already forlorn and seemingly resigned. Her lyrics are fitting, as they seem to describe characters at the very brink of despair and madness, in a way that is strangely similar to that of Siouxsie Sioux – in other words there’s an unusual seductiveness there. Additionally, there’s the loose, breezy energy of a tight band playing their material live. The material is spacious enough to allow for a solo to feel more improvised, and for the band to carry a groove to it’s conclusion.

   Granted, the material on Fill Your Lungs probablyisn’t the most revolutionary, most novel thing you’ll hear, especially if you’ve grown up listening to some of the bands that have inspired the Denver quartet’s debut. There are a couple of things they excel at – creating an eerily, haunting and unsettling sense of mood, and they have the ability to write a super catchy hooks that draw you in to their material and forces repeated listens. It’s an album that despite some of its own flaws manages to somehow in you over with verve and an assured confidence. It ain’t perfect – after all, most debuts aren’t – but it’s impressive all the same. In the long run, the band will have to do more to set themselves apart from the weight of their influences and to set themselves apart from the countless bands that heavily borrow from the 80s. I suspect that they’ll be able to do with the same self-assuredness of their debut.