Macseal’s ever-evolving indie-rock sound has settled into something deceptively simple and charmingly catchy on their new “Map It Out” (6131 Records) EP.
Though the Farmingdale-based quintet is still built around singer-guitarist Ryan Bartlett’s poignant delivery, it’s the way the band supports him that sets it apart.
“What’s better than fitting in?” Bartlett wonders in the opener “Sure Thing, Shelly” in the midst of elaborate guitar runs, unexpected harmonies and inspired drumming from Francesca Impastato. “Don’t bother trying to figure it out.”
From the young band’s string of ambitious EPs, it’s clear that Macseal has no real interest in fitting in. And though there are markers that show off their influences – a burst of Motion City Soundtrack poptimism here, a nod to classic Pavement there – it all gets reassembled in a way that is distinctly their own.
The thrilling twists on “Old Halls,” which opens with Bartlett and a lone guitar before quickly morphing into a wall of massive indie-rock sound from guitarists Greg Feltman, Cole Szilagyi and bassist Justin Canavaciol and intense bursts of drumming from Impastato, show Macseal converting its potential into well-crafted art.
While many wonder where the Long Island scene’s next generation of indie rockers are and – maybe, more importantly, where they will play – Macseal has been busy building its own version of the future. Don’t bother trying to figure it out. Just enjoy.
Macseal plays Baby’s All Right, 146 Broadway, Brooklyn, on Jan. 19. Tickets are $12 through babysallright.com.
Iron Chic rock on
After spending most of 2018 on the road in support of their excellent indie-rock album “You Can’t Stay Here” (Side One Dummy), Huntington Station’s Iron Chic has teamed up with California rockers Toys That Kill for a new split album “Toys That Kill/Iron Chic” (Dead Broke).
The band’s four songs were recorded in the sessions for “You Can’t Stay Here,” but didn’t necessarily fit with the album’s heavy feel. The thunderous “Amazing Fantasy” isn’t exactly upbeat, but it is at least hopeful, as Jason Lubrano declares, “We were young, dumb and earnest and we burned like a furnaces. Now, we can’t stop. No, we won’t stop learning.”
The other songs are also well-crafted, though tinged with regret, especially in the powerful “Kid Icarus” and the moody, but gripping “North Central Positronics.”
The strength of these songs make “Toys That Kill/Iron Chic” far more than a stopgap. It’s a great companion to “You Can’t Stay Here.”
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