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1,2,3 – New Heaven

on June 23, 2011, 8:00am
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1,2,3 arrived quietly on the indie scene, as faint and informal as frontman Nic Snyder’s smooth falsetto, which resonates with the swift, lo-fi, guitar pop–yet slightly synthesized–complexions of jams like “Heat Lightning” and “Work”. These are songs that have been floating throughout the blogosphere for months now, but the Pittsburgh trio have found a little bit of difficulty getting their name across, though that could very well be due to their very hard-to-Google band name. There doesn’t seem to be any other palpable reason, and now that their debut full-length, New Heaven, has been officially liberated into the world, the Frenchkiss signees should be able to gather a more substantial following.

I say “should” because 1,2,3 produce some fairly accessible indie rock, especially for a band so new to the market. There are hints of that Girls-like ’60s revival, indistinct gestures of surf rock, and touches of grainy, lo-fi acoustics that exist with any of your favorite DIY bands. Snyder’s lyrics are more or less about relationships and breakups, more or less the norm in indie rock these days.

What makes New Heaven work out so well is that the main factor perpetuated by Snyder and Co. is subtlety. There’s subtlety in Snyder’s high-pitched vocals, in the variation of guitar riffs present (see “Just Like Heaven”), in the vague involvement of electronic reverberation (see “Riding Coach”), and in the overall slow-building mechanisms that the band seems to favor throughout the entire LP. 1,2,3 don’t sway too far away from what they’re doing, and it’s blatant that they see themselves in a certain light, creating music in a certain way.

By maintaining this aesthetic on New Heaven, 1,2,3 project a kind of assertiveness, one that speaks volumes for the potential they have in creating more records down the road. Indie kids like albums that involve fluidity and consistency (think Beirut, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, and Grizzly Bear), and 1,2,3 throw that down in spades on New Heaven. It may not be a game changer (or comparable to the aforementioned bands), but it does showcase a shitload of flair and aptitude for producing indie rock.

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