Indie music fans might actually find something familiar in the sound of modern rock band Take to the Oars and their recent January 2011 release American Volume. Especially fans of Vonnegut.
Because it is Vonnegut.
In June of last year, Vonnegut officially changed its name to Take to the Oars, essentially saying that their sound and mission had evolved to the point that the old name no longer fit. Unlike Meese morphing into The Centennial, however, TttO’s name change doesn’t represent a completely new direction for the band–just growth. Kind of like outgrowing your old clothes as a kid and having to get new ones.
However you describe it, I like this record a lot. The songs on American Volume carry a raw and honest sense of melancholy, and a good diversity of sound. The record ranges from driving beats and chunky guitars (“Learning to Breathe”, “Vanishing Act”) to more reflective grooves (“Why I’m Not Where You Are”, below) without losing its continuity. There are a few moments on the recording where the arrangements feel just a bit sloppy, but considering the emotion coming through, the sloppiness is forgivable, even appropriate–like it wouldn’t really be the same vibe if they’d cleaned it up.
That said, Take to the Oars has done more than just change their name–they’ve given themselves growing room with this record. It’s the same band, only more so. The group of guys formerly known as Vonnegut have set out on the open waters, and…well…
This is my personal fave on the record. Take a listen and see what you think.
Buy American Volume on iTunes: