Torch Music Review

The stuff you should be listening to

Dikembe/Hightide Hotel/Jet Set Sail/Monument – Four-Way Split

Count Your Lucky Stars, the “little label with a lot of love,” is yet again the label of the split releases.

The much-loved Michigan label is releasing another split 7”, again showing a keen eye for talent in reminding listeners of just how consistent and talent-laden their emo/indie/rock roster is.

Gainesville quartet Dikembe kicks off the release quite capably with “Donuts in a Six Speed,” setting the tone for an emo record heavy on the rock side with its four uptempo offerings. “Donuts” relies on some dissonance and sudden tempo changes to push things forward, with some mathy riffing parted by a sudden sea of soft guitar strums. It’s a bit shaggy, but it works.

Philadelphia four-piece Hightide Hotel takes off with “Built to Last,” the standout track, a song consisting of a bit more connectivity, as thrilling guitars drive forward underneath well-applied, alternately traded and joint vocals.

This gives way to “Strickland North” from fellow Philly rockers Jet Set Sail. The trio’s track begins with a very vintage emo sound, all twinkly guitar plucking over a strong-hearted bass that takes off like a rocket. It’s very true to its roots, fun and the slightly muffled vocals actually work well backing the more dominant presence of the music.

Maryland’s Monument finishes with boasting of being “Sophisticated Liars,” a song that sadly proves to be the weakest. The vocals are difficult to get past, even in a genre where the technical quality of vocals isn’t in the top 10 selling points. That said, it’s a song that follows the path laid for it well and keeps the fun going until the end.

This marks yet another winning split from the Michigan record label. Let’s hope more are due in the near future.