Review :: The String and Return, "What Cheer"

This on-and-off Kansas City band vividly recalls flagship indie bands like Slint, Codeine and June of 44 as well as retired KC peer-bands like Shiner and Giants Chair.

Lead singer/songwriter Andrew Ashby sings with a weary drawl reminiscent of Centromatic's Will Johnson, a songwriter he's openly expressed reverence for. The String and Return specialize in Johnson's push/pull brand of beauteous guitar rock, weaving dissonant yet visceral melodies that pack as much into the empty spaces as the tear-inducing riffs.

"What Cheer" charms more and more with each spin, positioning instantly appealing numbers like "It's True" alongside the borderline math rock of "Brace Yourself" and cello-sweetened acoustic numbers like "Still Proud."

The record's title is misleading, as "What Cheer" mostly dwells in comatose tempos and morphine-addled vocal inflections. But what it lacks in "cheer" it more than makes up in melancholy, and for those kind of days it's good to have a kindred spirit in The String and Return.

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What Cheer

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