Chicago’s Bound Stems will offer up their first commercially available release, The Logic Of Building The Body Plan EP, on November 15, over three years since first coming together as a band. The reason for that delay might have something to do with the fact that the majority of its members all have “real” jobs – Bobby Gallivan (guitar, vocals) is a high school history teacher, Dan Fieury (guitar) is a financial wiz kid, Dan Radzicki (bass, keys, vocals) is a lab scientist, and Evan Sult (drums, tapes) is an art director for a comic book publisher. These hard working individuals, plus a couple others who apparently don’t have a jobs cool enough to list in the bio, have used the past three years very wisely, as they apparently already have an entire full length finished up and ready to go for early ’06. The band wisely decided to first introduce themselves to the indie rock masses with this EP, however. An interesting form of experimental indie rock that incorporates eclectic ambient samples and surprisingly catchy melodies is what Bound Stems have brought to the table. A library of stolen sounds – party laughter, an EL train, sidewalk conversations, a grandma’s stories, etc. – are threaded throughout the 27-minute EP, making for a listening experience that reaches beyond the normal bounds of your average new indie rock offering. Brought forth with the maturity and thoughtfulness of a veteran outfit, songs like “Crimes And Follies” and “Totipotent” bob and weave with both off-kilter, experimental guitar licks and “out there” vocal melodies. However, each of these tracks contains moments of pure pop bliss where the experimental elements all converge with one another to form something straight forward and undeniably catchy.
Like the first two tacks, each song on the EP has moments that border on utter confusion and chaos – an out of control car whizzing through a busy city street – but each, in turn, also has moments of lyrical genius and melodic pop perfection. Like an airplane spinning out of control that’s brought back to level flight by an experienced pilot, the energy and utter power of this young band send it flying out of control at times, but their collective strength and dedication to a unique musical vision pulls Bound Stems back from destruction each time, without fail. Combining elements of Broken Social Scene and The Walkmen, this is by far one of the most unique and exciting debuts I’ve heard in a LONG time. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the development of this band, and if their album is as good as this EP, I’d imagine those impressive day-jobs will be put on the back burner in no time.