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by Garon Cockrell
Bridges And Powerlines: “Better” (2013) EP Review
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By Garon Cockrell
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April 29, 2013 5:21 p.m.

Bridges And Powerlines is a pop band based in New York. They
released their first, self-titled, EP in 2006, and since then have put out a
couple of full-length CDs. Their new EP, Better,
contains all original songs, with all four band members sharing writing credits.
Usually CDs order their songs so that the strongest tracks are first. Not so
here. This EP, for the most part, actually gets better as it goes along (with
my favorites being the third, fourth and sixth tracks). The common thread seems
to a hopeful attitude, with these songs having a positive stance on getting through
the tough times. The songs on this EP are named after neighborhoods in
Better opens
with “Bushwick,” a decent power pop song, with rough male vocals mixed with sweeter backing vocals. This song has a great energy, and kind of a positive
vibe with the eager, exuberant repetition of “We find a new way.” It’s a
song of getting through and moving on, with lines like “Don’t cry/We might see tomorrow if we try/We might be the ones who
never die/Leave this space behind and go outside.”
“Park Slope” starts with its protagonist in a hospital
bed, with the world at war. This one has a positive aspect too, as he sings, “Love tends my wounds.” And then, though
he admits he’s broken, he sings, “When
it’s over, we’ll see mountains/We’ll see forests when it’s over.”
It’s the third track, “Williamsburg,” that really gets me
interested in this band. It’s a great song, partially because of its wonderful
build. And it has these excellent catchy touches on keys. I just love the feel
of this one. This is when pop is at its best. And then it’s not afraid of
ditching that good comfortable groove for a bit, to go into a different
section, with a stronger presence on drums. This song really draws me in. Why
close my eyes, sleep the night away when I have you.”
As good as that song is, “East New York” is actually even
better, and much more interesting. The vocals start at the fore, over a steady
beat that slowly creeps up. The album’s title comes from this song’s opening
lines: “Better/I’m doing better/I’m doing
better/’Cause I’m not around/Braver with someone less clever/I read old letters
to somebody else.” This track has really
nice vocals, both the lead and backing vocals. There is something of a sweet
innocence to the feel of this song – “And
I was young/And I was wrong.” The repetition of those lines seems as a way
of letting go, as when you repeat something enough it tends to lose meaning.
This is a wonderful song.
“Greenpoint” begins with drums before the vocals and
other instruments come in. “We’ve gone
and lost control/Now we’re just another set of separate souls/So come in, and
take my shoulder/And release each other.” This becomes more of a rock song
when the guitar takes over. It’s like the guitar is acting as a voice, telling
another part of the tale, a brief part, for the guitar subsides again.
“Red Hook” features some interesting vocal work, particularly
the play between lead and backing vocals near the beginning. This song is
actually quite pretty at times. But it’s the keyboard work I love most – it’s
nothing extravagant or ostentatious or anything – but the simple feel of it is
quite effective.
CD Track List
  • Bushwick
  • Park Slope
  • Williamsburg
  • East New York
  • Greenpoint
  • Red Hook
  • Bridges And Powerlines are Andrew Wood, Keith Sigel,
    David Boyd and Mason Ingram. Joining them on this release are Rob Moose on
    violin, CJ Camerieri on trumpet and French horn, Clarice Jensen on cello,
    Kieran Kelly on percussion and backing vocals, Maine Sigel on backing vocals,
    and Vanessa Morales providing the radio voiceover.
    Better is
    scheduled to be released on May 21, 2013 on Daisy Pistol Records.
    (Note: I also posted this on Michael Doherty's Music Log.)

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