If I had known that B'more had a band like this in its midst, I'd have driven the hour or so over to Charm City to see these cats earlier. Baltimore's Expert Alterations are stunningly good. The music on their self-titled EP, out Monday on Slumberland Records, covers a lot of high points in the indie rock canon. This is expertly produced music that manages to meld about a dozen disparate influences into something wholly fresh and exciting.
"Venetian Blinds" rattles like C86 stuff while "A Bell" nods in the direction of The Feelies or early Talking Heads filtered through a more modern postpunk POV. The sublime "Midnight Garden" bridges Jonathan Richman and The Verlaines without breaking a sweat. A haunting tune, this one was burrowed into my brain on first listen.
The bass-tastic "Memory Glands" recalls stuff like Swell Maps (when they were tuneful), as well as bands from the early days of Factory Records (Durutti Column, New Order, ACR). The closer to this EP, "Three Signs", mixes those influences up with the drum-sound from "Can't Be Sure" by The Sundays to offer up something that is both a slashing gem and a rather subdued slow-burner. There's a touch of The Smiths here -- think their Peel Sessions -- even if the vocals are decidedly un-Morrissey-like.
The 3 guys in Expert Alterations have great influences between them and they have managed to easily blend those into music that remains invigorating and new. I thoroughly dig this record and I cannot wait for more tunes from these cats.
Follow Expert Alterations on their official Facebook page.
The self-titled EP from Expert Alterations is out now via Slumberland Records.