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Posted on January 11th, 2013 (1:30 pm) by Paul Rice

What do you do when your band books studio time and then promptly dissolves? If you're Chicago-based indie pop band Scattered Trees,you rally your remaining members under a new band name and go record that album, turning a potential disaster into an opportunity for wild reinvention. The trio entered Stars and Suns studio to work with producer Dave Newfeld, who is best known as the producer behind most of Broken Social Scene's albums, as well as numerous other releases on the Toronto-based Arts & Crafts label. Through Newfeld's lush and detailed production, they became On An On and recorded Give In, out January 29 on Roll Call Records.

This album was made to sound delicious. The first track alone proves On An On have matured dramatically. “Ghosts” kicks the album with a dreamy, chugging guitar riff unfolding into a gorgeous vocal melody carrying the chorus and recurring throughout the song. The drums skitter along as the song builds, consistently interesting, but never overbearing. When the bridge drops in, new layers of vocals emerge, giving the song an unexpected depth nearly impossible to not notice. Though it sticks close to the verse/chorus rock song format, the continuous growth of the song gives a feeling of constant movement as every repetition goes deeper than the last.

Dave Newfeld's influence will be evident to any Broken Social Scene fan. “All The Horses” totally nails the Broken Social Scene extended fadeout, letting lingering layers of fuzzy keyboard vamp on the same two chords and totally bury Nate Eiesland's hushed vocals for two minutes of shoegazing fadeout before Alissa Ricci sings no more than two gorgeous, unintelligible words and the song finally ends. The ladies of Broken Social Scene would be proud. “War Is Gone” and “Panic” capture Broken Social Scene's more upbeat vibes with soft beds of delayed guitar and keyboard fuzz that float and shimmer around strong, propulsive beats while the bass pokes around melodically like it's playing a guitar solo.

Give In is tasteful and atmospheric, but it not kind to the passive listener. While nearly every second of the album is finely textured and brimming with fine details, many of these things take focus to appreciate – without a carefully attentive ear, many of these songs blur together. The songs that thrive are the ones where On An On allow themselves to step back and breathe, using silence and restraint to make those moments of lushness stand out. They achieve this balance perfectly on “Ghosts” and the beautiful closing track “I Wanted To Say More,” which starts quiet and ends quieter, making the gentle instrumental build-and-fade appear vastly more emotional.

This sort of rich production is perfect for a band like Broken Social Scene, who incorporate brass and strings, several different lead singers, and a handful of lead songwriters on every album to keep things fresh. On An On were an indie pop band until the moment they made this album, so it's easy to forgive them for making a pretty good album instead of a great one. Give In is a document of a band in the middle of a hard transition, and it's quality is a sign that the best is yet to come for On An On.

Track List:
1. Ghosts
2. Every Song In The World
3. American Dream
4. The Hunter
5. All The Horses
6. Bad Mythology
7. War Is Gone
8. Cops
9. Panic
10. I Wanted To Say More

On An On Give In
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

70 / 100
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