If you long for the hoarse-voiced singers, and scrappy guitars of heart aching and desperate sounding post-adolescents in basements, Common Sage’s latest, Might As Well Eat The Chicken, We Won’t Be Here In The Morning should satisfy. Falling roughly halfway between skramz-style emo and the bent-up early work of Modest Mouse, the Brooklyn band pushes indie rock instruments (and voices) to their crackling edges. This six-track EP splits its time between more conventional songs and ambient, guitar pedal-mutated instrumentals.
“These are a collection of songs recorded during parts of 2019-2020, at very different times and places in each participants life. If the listener finds any sort of meaning or cohesion during or after their experience, just know, there is none. There is nothing here,” Common Sage’s Bandcamp cautions. The more substantial songs, broken up by 3 variations on “Part 1,” were each recorded separately. Still, there is a consistency throughout largely in the aesthetics and likely in large part due to band leader Julian Rosen.
The songs are remarkably distant sounding. If this is music for basement shows, you’ve walked in on a rehearsal and are waiting discretely from across the empty concrete floor until the notice you while the sounds ricochet off the walls. The drums and vocals in particular take on this effect while the guitars tend more toward scratchy, scrappy playing or effect pedal dabbling that clouds the sounds into unrecognizable washes of reverb and delay. “Part 1 (A Rearrangement)” veers the most heavily into this as the original guitars warp into reverse.
“Wraparound Background” makes the full band’s first introduction with the big, roomy drum sound favored by many emo peers. But unlike many of those acts, Common Sage favors undistorted guitars that sound exposed and vulnerable, the perfect companion to Rosen’s vocals which at times sound as though they’re holding back tears and at other moments snap into momentary screaming fits. “Saw Daddy” marks the EP’s center bearing an almost too clear resemblance to Modest Mouse’s early opus The Lonesome Crowded West but playing up that unstable swagger for all it’s worth.
“Wet Grass,” which like “Part 1” was recorded by Philadelphia-DIY staple Evan Bernard (Mannequin Pussy, Spirit Of The Beehive, The Superweaks), branches out into acoustic territory before eventually ushering in the full band and more ambient guitar sounds that close out the EP. While perhaps not a fully connected and purposeful release, Might As Well Eat The Chicken, We Won’t Be Here In The Morning is a solid piece of scrappy basement emo.