Searching for Signal, As If Nothing’s Changing

Searching for Signal, As If Nothing's Changing

There’s an appealing gentleness to As If Nothing’s Changing, the latest EP from Houston/Austin post-rock band Searching for Signal; the band doesn’t drive things anywhere so much as coax the music forward and roll gracefully along with it. Searching for Signal have seemingly shifted once again, although not as drastically as they did between their self-titled first album and followup It’s So Bright EP — this time out they’re even more languid and heavy-lidded, if anything, than they’ve been before.

On top of that, they’ve kind of looped back around to their pop roots, as on opener “Said So,” which sways and jangles its way along, all delicately-strummed guitars and almost lounge-y drums. The atmospheric spacerock influence is still there, to be sure, but it’s even further in the background on tracks like “Autopilot,” which starts off gentle and melancholy but steadily builds to an almost-climax towards the end. The song is less Explosions in the Sky or Pelican and more, say, Spiritualized circa Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space, all hazy, cool-to-the-touch swoon.

Listening to the EP, I can’t help but think that while the soaring, high-flying rock’s still lurking around (see “I Can Barely Open My Eyes”), the SfS guys are pointing further backwards to some decidedly earlier influences — the band’s sound makes me think of the brief wave of slowcore bands that hit back in the mid-’90s, folks like Bedhead or Codeine or even Galaxie 500. This is somnolent, late-night music for when you just want to sit alone in the near dark, and it’s beautiful for that.

There’s also an intriguing Britpop vibe going on throughout, with hints of The Verve or Athlete showing through on “I Can Barely Open My Eyes” or in the back-and-forth middle break of “Crisis.” The latter rides a nice, hypnotic drone, while “Remote Control (Part 1)” comes off almost like an un-fuzzed Jesus & Mary Chain track, or maybe something by We Were Promised Jetpacks (neither of which is a bad comparison, in my book).

I’ve been impressed by these guys for a while now, but it’s always felt like they weren’t quite where they needed to be. With As If Nothing’s Changing, though, they’ve managed to somehow meld together the pieces of their sound — soaring, spaceward-pointing atmospherics, delicate indie-pop, and sleepy, stumbling drone — into something all their own.

I’m not going to claim Changing is perfect, mind you — there’re points where the slow-moving languor puts me out a bit more than I’d like — but honestly, my problems with it are pretty minor. This EP’s a great, great glimpse of a band that’s figured out where they need to be musically and know how to get there, and that’s one hell of a big step forward.

(Feature photo by Ashley Tsai.)

[Searching for Signal is playing 7/31/11 at The Mink, along with Sphynx, Native America, & The Live Lights.]
(self-released; Searching for Signal -- http://www.facebook.com/searchingforsignal; Searching for Signal (Myspace) -- http://www.myspace.com/thesearchingforsignal)
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Review by . Review posted Sunday, July 31st, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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3 Responses to “Searching for Signal, As If Nothing’s Changing

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 3: Searching for Signal (Rev’d!) + Sphynx + Binarium Sound Series + More on July 31st, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    […] best parts of each: delicate, gentle-hearted indie-pop with slow-moving spacerock swoon. See over here for the full […]

  2. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Early Weekend: Dead Prez + Searching for Signal + Illegal Wiretaps + Ghost Storys + Witherees + More on August 18th, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    […] — best of all — Austin/Houston outfit Searching for Signal. I reviewed their latest, As If Nothing’s Changing, a little while back and was pretty impressed by their gently-drifting, swaying shimmer-rock that […]

  3. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: The Octopus Project + Benefit for Tim Young + Co-Pilot + Clory Martin + The Suffers + More on November 11th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    […] to me they still call H-town home, so I’ll forgive ‘em that. Besides, their latest EP, As If Nothing’s Changing, sees the band transforming from a gentle, jangly pop band into a throwback to mid-’90s […]

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