American Gothic Types Paint It Black

Aside from their hometown of Atlanta, there's nothing Southern about Snowden—no songs about driving cars, no twang, and absolutely no drawl. Instead the quartet, like contemporaries Editors and Sound Team, drips Anglo touchstones: a stony reservedness, heavy reverb, and slightly affected Brit accents. The mood is a little Gothic, but that of buttresses and gargoyles or pale skin and eyeliner, not Cormac McCarthy or Harper Lee.

So the band doesn't bring the heat, but instead offers an icy veneer, an effect accomplished via multiple avenues. In hypnotic opener "Like Bullets," it's the stoic, stalking bassline; on stomper "Filler is Wasted" and rangy "Counterfeit Rules," it's the fuzzed-out guitar tones. On the hooky title track, it's a simple lead-footed kick-drum beat; on the electro-tinged "Between the Rent," singer-songwriter Jordan Jeffares offers detached vocals and obstinate lyrics. The charm of Snowden's debut is its understated authenticity: Underneath all the accoutrements, these are Jeffares's bedroom songs, and it's not hard to extrapolate to their simpler days as anguished acoustic ballads.

Snowden play Sin-é Thursday.

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