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Release Date:
  late 2001  
Reviewed by:

Module are a new wavey rock band from Houston, and this is their debut EP. The EP contains 4 songs, so let's take a look at each before i draw conclusions about the band.

The EP starts off with Grounded. This song has some intense guitar work that is almost gothy. Almost -- think more Joy Division less Sisters Of Mercy. The vocals here are slightly gravelly and yet still rich. They really remind me of John Doe in a way. There is some cymbol heavy drumming that has a strange wavering tone to it. On the whole, this song works. It's catchy and upbeat, with a good drumbeat and a nice insistent bass riff. The guitar is a barely heard rhythm drone under the bass, voice, and drums.

A different vocalist takes over for The Loudest Silence. This singer has an interesting voice: in the mid range with a hint of natural tremolo. The lead voice carries the songs minor keys to wonderful effect, while the other singer lays down some bakcing vocals, and again there is the insistent bass and the cymbol heavy drumming. This is a pretty good tune. Again, it is catchy and enjoyable in a rainy day new wave feel.

The third track is called Severin, and it might be the EPs real winner. It starts with a great guitar riff, which is backed up by thumping bass and that crazy wavering drumming. In fact, this is the first song on which the guitar seems more prominent than the bass. The two singers harmonize qutie nicely during the chorus, and in general the song moves along like a semi whose breaks have failed -- it's moving and you can either catch a ride or get the heck out of the way. A really good tune.

The album ends with a song not listed on the sleeve. And this song is ... Grounded, played backwards. At least, it's something backwards and it sounds like Grounded. The bass sounds really good through backmasking, but otherwise this is pretty annoying. Whatever guys.

So there you go -- 4 tracks, three of which are catchy and new wavey fun. There are a few overall thoughts that i have here.

Firstly, what the heck is up with the drumming? Something about the way it was recorded or the really cymbol heavy playing creates a "wavering" sound that reminds me of tape warpage. But it's only on the drums, so it sounds like the drums are warped but the rest of the music is normal. A very wierd effect. Not bad, not good, just wierd.

Both of the voices are good for this style of music, and where they harmonize in Severin it works really well.

I think that the balance of guitar and bass is well done as well. The bass has a really full sound (especially on Grounded) and the guitar is a nice accompaniment. It sometimes sounds as if Module are following the new wave tradition of having a lead bassist and a rhythm guitarist, as opposed to the other way around, which tends to dominate rock. And of this i approve heartily.

So, this EP is very nice. It fill sit nicely on the shelf next to your My Favorite and Bethany Curve CD's. Or your Train black 7"s. In fact, that is a good touchpoint -- The Loudest Silence and Severin really sound like long lost Train Black tracks to me. Not that i am accusing a new band from Houston of ripping off an Atlanta band from the late 80's, but there is a real similarity in sound: bass heavy with mid ranged male voice.

Module have shown some real promise on this debut. Let's see where they go next.

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