Pennsylvania post-hardcore outfit Reservoir have a new EP out for the second time this year. “IntoEndings” follows January’s “Demo,” a four-song effort that had good bones but suffered from the band trying to meld too many styles without really refining or building off of any one of them. Classic ‘young band’ syndrome, I suppose.
Apparently, Reservoir have aged quite well this year, because “IntoEndings” finds the band really fine-tuning their melodic post-hardcore skills. This is exactly why I’ve always thought it was a great move for younger bands to put out EPs over their first few years rather than trying to jump in with both feet to recording a full length when they haven’t quite found their niche yet. The three songs on this 7-inch (though, is it really a 7-inch when you get the digital version?) are much more focused, evidence that less is often times more. The title track features dueling guitars (one chunky and distorted, one cleaner and more melodic) and dueling vocals that quite often share the same characteristics as the dichotomous guitar sounds. It sounds not unlike recent releases from the likes of Luther or Banquets, run through a Fugazi filter.
Comparisons have been made to the likes of Small Brown Bike, and I’d say that’s pretty accurate on this new release (though I still maintain that the more guttural singer bares more than a passing vocal resemblance to early Al Barr). The riffs aren’t catchy or poppy really, but are very tight and high-energy, eagerly following the pace set by drummer Steven Sensenig. I don’t recall the rhythm section being a weakness on “Demo,” but I feel like Sensenig especially has elevated his game. Having a stable, rhythm section to provide a technical backbone is so vital (and so often overlooked) when you’ve got singers and guitar players that aren’t afraid to take chances with a song’s more melodic areas.
Reservoir have really hit on a sound that should serve them well going forward. Perhaps more care can be taken to stabilize the vocals (there is some wavering at times when they try to hold some of the longer notes, which could probably be cleared up with another take or two in the vocal booth), but that’s the only real criticism I’ve got this time around.