The newest EP from Winnipeg’s best post-punk band Surprise Party, Circle of Death, is a fusion of unlikely genres and effects. Each track boasts a distinct musical signature. The opening song “Come Down” features a very groovy and upbeat sound, with shimmering guitar riffs lodging themselves in your eardrums.
Punctuating the end of the song is a phaser-filled keyboard solo from Jesse Warkentin. The second track, “If You Melt” has a different vibe; the heavy crashing of cymbals creates a deep beat, subconsciously beckoning the listener to nod their head. Combined with pulsing guitar and heavy keyboard riffs, the song plays a shoegaze heartbeat you can set your clock to. The third track, “If You Fall,” ties a phasing keyboard riff with shoegaze tones on the guitar, and possibly the best breakdown of the EP to close the song. The final track, “Cut Me Again,” displays a vocal effect which is almost transcendent, as though one could see singer Mischa Decter’s voice washing out from their speakers. Not enough can be said of Mischa’s voice and the vocals in general on this album. The harmonies are spot on, and sometimes provide an almost barbershop-quartet feel to the choruses of many of the songs. Mischa’s style of singing is reminiscent of an Isaac Brock or Doug Martsch. He can pull off a semi-monotonous chanting style but also a more traditional style, where he utilizes a variety of pitches. It is this ability to switch between styles that truly demonstrates his talent on the microphone. Lastly, the jokes included in the CD’s inside cover add a nice laugh and really shows the band’s unique persona to be soothing and silly. (Transistor 66 Records, surpriseparty420.bandcamp.com) Omri Golden-Plotnik
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