Music Review: I Was Totally Destroying It by uncdiversions
August 6, 2009, 6:53 pm
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I Was Totally Destroying It

The Beached Margin/Done Waiting

(Greyday Records)

Chapel Hill’s I Was Totally Destroying It has an interesting problem. They produce a metric ton of songs. We’re talking a 15-song debut, a new 12-song double EP and a forthcoming sophomore LP to come in October, all produced in just a touch over two years.

With such prodigious output from a fairly new band, it’s far from expected that every song should be great. And that hasn’t been the case. 2007’s self-titled debut was a motley affair, placing well-crafted pop-rock gems alongside similar songs that were bland in comparison.

And The Beached Margin/Done Waiting, the new vinyl-only double EP, suffers from a similar problem, one that is thrown into sharp relief by the album’s release strategy.

The four new songs of The Beached Margin have been hitched to the incredible step forward of this year’s earlier Done Waiting EP, which was available as a free download. But the problem is that next to the fast, furious and sonically expressive songs of the earlier release, The Beached Margin sounds like the table scraps put out only to flesh the affair out to full length.

It’s not that these new songs are bad. Far from it. “The Witch That’s Riding My Back” is a wonderfully propulsive bit of self-defeatism powered by interlocking guitars and garnished with shimmering keys. But the style is used to better effect on “Done Waiting,” which adds a killer keyboard part and more direct lyrics attacking an ex-boyfriend.

As with these two songs, how much you’ll like this collection will be largely influenced by whether you’ve heard Done Waiting already. If you’ve heard neither “Fences” or “Teeth” before, you’ll appreciate the lumbering bass lines and bombastic self-loathing that’s done well in both. But if you’ve already been enjoying “Teeth,” which by the token of Rachel Hirsch’s seething vocal performance is one of IWTDI’s best songs, the weaker “Three Little Pigs”-aping “Fences” will feel like kid’s stuff in comparison.

But no matter your previous experience with the material, this double EP continues to prove that IWTDI is improving. And while The Beached Margin might feel like the cold leftovers to Done Waiting‘s hot, fresh meal, they’re both made up of the dishes that weren’t quite good enough for the feast of the band’s sophomore album.

And with a whole album’s worth of songs that range from good to great not making the cut, October’s Horror Vacui will be a disappointment if its not one of the Triangle’s best CDs this year.

I Was Totally Destroying It will celebrate the release of its new double EP with a show at Durham’s Pinhook tomorrow. Goner and Free Electric State also play. Show starts at 9 p.m. and costs $5.

– By Diversions Editor Jordan Lawrence


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