It’s always interesting to see emerging artists find a middle ground between two different genres. It makes for a pretty memorable listening experience, and an overall positive impression based on uniqueness alone. On their newest release, Graphite, the boys in Sit Calm present an unusual yet compelling blend of clean math rock, emo, and pop-punk.
The Winnipeg four-piece introduce what they’re all about within the first minute with a clean, reverb-heavy guitar intro that kicks off “Stone Mountain.” They jump into their full sound shortly after, and stay loyal to it throughout the album’s remaining nine tracks. The guitars shine the most with continuously active, mostly clean tones that never fail to provide an extra layer of depth overtop the grooving bass, tight drums, and emotionally powerful vocals. With some subtle time signature changes, it’s the instrumentation that gives the music a light math rock vibe with the emo tinge to them provided by Brendyn Funk’s vocal contributions. Funk’s half-yelling timbre would fit just as well fronting a modern pop-punk band, but this cleaner sound works just as well and is a hell of a lot more interesting.
The only thing I can fault the guys in Sit Calm for is staying too faithful to this formula. Throughout the length of this album, it becomes increasingly difficult to single out a highlight track or any of their memorable riffs or melodies. That said, it does not prompt me to turn the music off. The colourful instrumentation and interesting rhythms on Graphite make it just as difficult to get bored of the album as it does to get incredibly invested.
The album’s production is extremely clean and helps show off the scale-climbing guitars that are often underneath Funk’s vocal performance. Although I worry that all the musical similarities these tracks feature will lead to Graphite becoming forgettable among the countless number of releases made this year, they have a great sound going for them. This mix of influences suits the band and is something that I’m hearing more and more in recently years.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy