Dana Falconberry, Befriend the Bears, Moving Castles, and Hearts Fail
Though I Didn't Call It Came, Before They Take Over, Moving Castles, and ... Other Blessings (Crossbill Records)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., April 20, 2012
Though it's only four songs biding time until her third LP, Dana Falconberry's Though I Didn't Call It Came (Crossbill Records) spins the elegant beauty of her gentle twang, finding expansion in arrangements that highlight her subtle longing as well as harmonies with Gina Dvorak and Karla Manzur. The EP succeeds on the strength of stunning opener "Petoskey Stone," which weaves loping percussion amid easy swirls of Wurlitzer organ, wine glasses, and the Tosca String Quartet. Befriend the Bears likewise swells eclectic behind the horns and stuttering jazz rhythms of "Jericho," opening debut Before They Take Over. Formerly dubbed A Likely Few, the local septet never captures the same energy on an EP that then becomes more of a showcase for Tiana Berlin's vocals, which can achieve a nice pop balance ("Bone Dry") but also drift into trill territory ("Stolen," "Red Lantern"). Moving Castles' eponymous, five-song debut delivers aggressive pop with a smart, snarky edge, most notably on scene-deflating "Warhol" and amusing pusher push-back "Heroin." The quartet cuts a bit too emo on closer "Hush My Bones" but hits solid pop-punk strides with "Black Dress" and "Sick Girls" as frontman John Eric Hetherington spits against broiling percussion and convincing hooks. San Antonio's Hearts Fail approaches a decade of plying darkwave fantasies with ... Other Blessings, the EP follow-up to 2009's The Dying Season. Draped in cloaks of Echo & the Bunnymen, the Cure, and the more modern post-rock of Muse, the quintet dredges the trenches of the maudlin and dramatic, yet Edward Wagner has the perfect Morrissey-traced croon to pull off the sound, especially on "You're Burning Everything" and "We Wore Blinders" – though "We Fall" drops decidedly over the edge.