Westland - Intimacy w/o Intricacy - EP
Intimacy w/o Intricacy, only six songs and 20 minutes in length, acts less as a cohesive record and more like a sampling of everything Westland can do, but there’s nothing terribly wrong with that. We get the electronica-infused trance-ballad (“Slowly,” which carries the EP out in balladic ambiance); we get the slightly-generic play for modern-rock radio that is “For the Moment Star,” a song whose repetitive, “been there, done that” chorus nearly derails a foot-stomping guitar intro, strong verses, and a booming bass-line (courtesy of Nick Karidoyanes, who anchors the band on numerous occasions throughout this record). Still, frontman Aaron Bonus goes for broke here, bringing more than a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll edge to the proceedings, and while the song isn’t entirely successful on its own, it’s at least nice to know that this band, so good at dwelling in the earworm pop-punk department, isn’t afraid to turn the amplifiers up to 11.
“Bleed” layers vocals, guitars, strings, and acoustics for a similar effect, though its chorus isn’t quite as meteoric as “Jack and Coke.” The song’s break sounds like something that wouldn’t have been out of place on Jimmy Eat World’s Stay on My Side Tonight EP, and the use of acoustic instrumentation, though minimal, is a nice change of pace that I’d challenge the band to explore further in the future. “Too Late,” meanwhile, is the catchiest song on the record, opening with a gorgeous pomp-and-circumstance swirl of piano and strings, and transforming into a Something Corporate-esque showstopper. Producer Shep Goodman, known for his work with pop bands and solo acts, works his magic here, surrounding the bus-sized chorus with the kind of pop sheen that could make the song a global hit. Certainly, the radio waves have rarely embraced our scene, but with a shifting mainstream music landscape that put fun. on top of the world last year and made bands a force to be reckoned with again, could the hopeless romantics in Westland find themselves notching some national success? With a set of songs as solid as Intimacy w/o Intricacy, I must confess that I’d be happy to see it happen.