Although I had only heard about this within the last hour, I am going to write up a quick review of this split 7″ from Lansing emo bands Bicycle Sunday (formerly Boleyn) and Park Jefferson. The bands are both working toward funding a physical release of the split. Find out more about that here and while you’re at it, download the tracks (for free, at the bands’ insistence) here: http://www.mediafire.com/?cnt9put8unww97p

Onto the review…

The first song here, Bicycle Sunday’s “Do you remember the time you gave me a spoon?”, starts out with some almost post-rock textured guitars that add an almost somber quality to the proceeding lyrics. Singer/guitarist Joe McAndrew sings with a bleak quality, “It started with a smile and ended with your head/On my chest”. I really like the slowed down cymbal crashes and overall drum beat because along with the guitars, they add a sonic embrace of the eerie and the honest when the lyrics are thrown on top of it all. The bass plays a minimalist role here; sneaking along quietly. “My heart/It beats for you” are the closing lines here and the buildup of the song only makes the lyrics all the more appropriate.

Bicycle Sunday’s second offering here, “Nothing was the matter, except me” draws on the same textural elements as the previous song but is a little bit different. Again, the guitars shine but for a different reason. Arpeggios and single note trills revolve like a carousel as McAndrew sings “History repeats/That’s what you taught me/In your bed those nights”. How fitting. The belting, aching vocal is also similar to the previous effort but it’s got a pull to it that makes you ache right along with him. The instrumental breakdown toward the end of the song showcases the band’s cohesiveness. A great effort here.

I have never heard of Park Jefferson, but after taking a couple of listens to their side of this split, it’s pretty obvious that they draw from the same musical gene pool as Bicycle Sunday. That said, their takes are very different from Bicycle Sunday. “One for the road” starts to feel like the multi-layered guitarism of Bicycle Sunday at first, but then morphs into something totally different. At about 45 seconds in, the song changes into a pop-core cocktail of quick and fast hardcore-esque drumming and shouted vocals. I actually think the shouted, gang vocals toward the middle of the song add a surprise element that is very welcome. Throughout these shouted sections, the guitar and bass play minimalist roles, letting the shouts envelope your ear canals.

The second Park Jefferson offering, “Dude, it’s a Saturday” amps up the hardcore intensity. The drums pound away as guitars (that should be overdriven but aren’t) give the song an almost revealing and stripped down quality. I also like the quick pull-off guitar licks; they add to the barrage created by the drums. Shouted vocals are shown here again in full force. The single guitar/voice interlude is a nice touch. Adds the aforementioned stripped down quality.

If there are two bands that deserve a helping hand from you, the caring fans, it’s Bicycle Sunday and Park Jefferson. Do yourself a favor and help them with much needed donations here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/282406512/put-out-the-bicycle-sunday-park-jefferson-split-7

And check out the songs on the split here: http://www.mediafire.com/?cnt9put8unww97p