There's confidence and then there's opening an album with an extended guitar solo confidence. The latter reeks of false bravado, but Seattle's the Trouble Starts (formerly Daneil G. Harmann and the Trouble Starts) manages to pull it off without coming off as insufferable on East, the group's new EP. In fact, a sense of subtlety pervades across the six songs and their mixed palate of alt-rock.
As the group's previous name suggests, the band centers on the songwriting of Daniel G. Harmann. His vocals are a mix of the deep richness of Augustines/Pela's Billy McCarthy and the emotive cadence delivery of Brand New's Jesse Lacey. Harmann's go-to singing technique involves holding notes with a subdued calm, then quickly pushing his voice to an aggressive, raw place in mere syllables.
Each track of East has it's own unique touch. "Glaciers" features a ramshackle, intentionally off-kilter chorus of call to mind Modest Mouse. The upbeat tone of "I Am Black Waves" echoes British dance rock. Rolling drums carry "The Door Is Locked." "Family Rifles" balances a staccato guitar chord attack on the verses with instrumentation that floats along during the chorus and bridge. The EP ends on a dreamy note thanks to "Golden Silver"'s sweeping high-concept British rock feel and refrain of "I want Stardust to play at my funeral. What brought you in will carry me out." While the Trouble Starts never settles on a sound on East, the grab bag the band offers up is plenty satisfying.
The Trouble Starts
Sept 27 at 9:30, High Dive, $8