Record Review: Pretend Surprise

Pretend Surprise
HOTmath
Wilmington, NC
(Self-released)

“Colorful math rock”

HOTmath sounds like the epitome and the perfect name for a math rock album, but the Wilmington group Pretend Surprise has a lot more to offer on this compact six-track EP.  Sonic riffs, titillating percussion and confident vocals – the band has certainly released a rich, colorful and cleanly-produced introduction.

The EP opens up with “Subvert the Patterns,” another hint at the math rock genre. The guitar work on this track is dynamite and cannot be ignored. Following is “Saturnalia” which is fun, danceable and the perhaps the most generic of all the tracks. However, as the EP transitions into “Charades,” the band projects simple lyrics, but still gets that poignancy across: “And on the nights we’re both lush/We chase our drinks with tears/And all that’s said before/Spills and stains on the carpet floor.”

Then comes the eight minute “The Product of a 24hr News Cycle,” an intriguing title in itself, which serves as an epic metaphor for current American culture, ending with “the sound of sirens.” The EP closes with two brilliant tracks, the manic “…a Chernobyl-like Situation” and “Quint(essentially),” a calmer, moody number that keeps you still and wanting more by the end of it. Hopefully, Pretend Surprise will soon go beyond this tease of an EP and release a full-length album of their talents and insight.

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Worth Weaver at Red Room Recording

Album Art by Russ Roe

pretendsurprise.bandcamp.com

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