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Know Your Product: We Read Minds, self-titled EP (self-released)

February 17, 2009

It’s been interesting to watch the slow rise of We Read Minds. Like it or not, Baltimore can often be a town where if you’re friends with the right people, it can be maybe a little easy to get on a good–or at least “hip”–bill. Regardless, We Read Minds has advanced steadily from some seriously crummy local-stew bookings to a somewhat regular at the middle-tier rock clubs around town (at least to these eyes). The four piece band, birthed sometime around the winter of ’07–created a MySpace page then, anyhow–has just now got around to releasing music, a quick, immaculately recorded two-song EP of smart, updated alt-rock. So, yes, that would be the bad news–this does fall under the alt/modern-rock umbrella, sinking at points into a the sort of metal lite we’ve been hearing on the radio since grunge passed. At the same time, the songs carry the marks of a post-OK Computer rearing: long, emotive vocal passages linger and stretch like red wine flavored taffy. Both songs follow a similar pattern on the EP–a pattern also taking sly cues from big-league instrumental post-rock–with “The Difference” being the weaker of the two, overusing dated dramatic tricks like angry, brief alt-metal guitar scuffs and a sort of a bland, soundtrack-y synth. The execution is immaculate, but it’s a tad predictable. “Colours,” however, is a lovely, exceedingly deliberate number heavy on open space and light on dirge, carrying its weight in lonesome, sorrowful lyrics (delivered well by Justin Gilman’s burnished vocals) and piano-filled arrangements that travel from spare to full in natural, sweeping waves that break at just the song’s oddest, most vulnerable moments. It’s effecting and points toward a solid direction for this band.

We Read Minds plays March 6 at the Ottobar.

  • The Simulacra

    Comparing a band to Radiohead is shorthand for, “I don’t know enough bands to make an accurate comparison”. Just because they’re clearly influenced by the most influential band of our era shouldn’t be a way to provide cover for lazy journalism. Ever heard of Midlake? Dredg? Heck on this record they sound far more like Arcade Fire or early Andrew Bird than at any point in Radiohead’s history. This is a really excellent record, better than anything I’ve heard coming out of Baltimore in awhile, possibly ever. This review seems like you’re just trying way too hard to find reasons not to like them.