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Bound Stems

By: Peter Gaston

Most humans wouldn’t consider themselves particularly eloquent at expressing their feelings. We turn to music, more often than not, because we envy how a certain songwriter articulates the emotions and situations that are important to us. Bound Stems aren’t pining to write anyone’s wedding song. Their EP, The Logic of Building the Body Plan, is indeed fraught with complexity, but not the lyrical kind. Instead, it’s the sound of normal conversations — bits and pieces of random chats, even — set to erratic but fitting accompaniment.

On opener “Crimes and Follies,” a driving, bluesy stomp backs frontman Bobby Gallivan as he lingers, unsure of a romance that’s rapidly progressing beyond his control. “At the end of the night,” he coos, “we’re crawling up the stairs together with a secret inside.” Then the track slips off into a pensive, sparse pause that mimics the situational uncertainty. “Crashed around the room, she’s egging me on / Smile politely but I’m too ambitious,” Gallivan relates over slow-building snare taps. “We spent the morning kissing on the floor / We entered casually but left a wreck.” The meandering storytelling is even more effective on the searing “Wake Up, Ma and Pa Are Gone,” which takes off around the supercharged line, “It all comes down to a moment like this / When I’m leaving for something bigger than us.”

All of this emotional depth comes straight off the varsity basketball team, believe it or not: Gallivan, bassist Dan Radzicki, and guitarist Dan Fleury met as high school hoopsters, and, after a few years playing together (as a band, not in pickup games), recruited ex-Harvey Danger drummer Evan Sult and keyboardist/vocalist Janie Porche to round out the lineup. Bound Stems’ first full-length, Appreciation Night, is slated for a summer 2006 release.

Bound Stems tour dates:

1/4, Washington, DC (The Velvet Lounge)1/6, New York, NY (Mercury Lounge)1/7, Akron, OH (The Lime Spider)1/20, Chicago, IL (The Empty Bottle)1/21, St. Paul, MN (The Turf Club)1/27, Lansing, MI (Mac’s Bar)11/2, Urbana, IL (Iron Post)2/17, DeKalb, IL (The House Cafe)2/24, Milwaukee, WI (Onopa Brewing Company)3/17, Austin, TX (Lucky Lounge – SXSW)

Bound Stems official site