There's something relatively soothing about Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet The Faulkner Detectives. It's something slightly primal and askew and somewhat not at ease with itself that I find comfortably calming. South Florida expat Alex Segura (guitar/vocals) has done well for himself in various mediums (journalism and comics mostly) and now turns his creative juices to stripped-down indie gems.
Like any man's dreams, he's surrounded himself with women and where he's gruff and unrepentant about his southern bend towards literature, the girls soften it up whilst adding the aforementioned edge of unease. This is not sweet play on play of boy and girl, this is more like awkward first dates and coming into terms with feelings.
And like the opening twangs of "A Matter of Time," it's pretty and promising.
There's the nuanced splendor of Segura's minimalist guitar work aided by Meg Wilhoite's vocals and keys. The rhythm section is a working one, bassist Elizabeth Keenan-Penagos and drummer Vanessa Lopez hold back on the fancy and maintain the rock-steady precision you'd expect from seasoned jazz players.
Short at seven songs and slightly over twenty-one minutes, The Modern Handshake manages to get across the worn-on-the-sleeves influences of a first effort and the aspirations of follow-up work. "New Blood" continues at a slower and more introspective pace and here we get a good feeling of a musical education mired in obscurity, nerdiness, and a solid feel of math punk a la Peechees with the hidden indie of Erin Tobey.
"Water's Edge" can prove to be little too long for some tastes but they vindicate themselves with the one-two punch of "Fully Formed" and "Render," both driven by Wilhoite's vocals and a good counterpoint to Segura's efforts in the front half of the EP.
Available digitally here ($4.99) and physically from South Florida's friendliest record label Livid Records here ($8.00). Fans of early Jade Tree releases and early '90s college radio should take note. I also wonder how much of an influence, if any, were the violent poetics of Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives. Hmm? Yes I do.
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