A sly familiarity
As the world fell into a never-ending quarantine-induced despair, many found solace in the fact that they now had extra time for creativity. This creativity birthed Blunt Razors and their debut six-track EP, Early Aught. While stuck in lockdown together, Gared O’Donnell and Neil Keener, who make up half of Planes Mistaken for Stars (PMFS), began to create together. Because the songs were so vastly different from their Planes Mistaken for Stars projects, the duo agreed to give the project a new name, as listeners of both bands will experience the difference right away.
PMFS focuses on pulse-driving metal/hard rock, and while Blunt Razors do carry some of the same melodies, the new project is quite different in tone. Early Aught slows everything down, feeling far more stripped down and intimate. The duo ditches their high gain for a more clean and gentle tone, while sticking with their softer Deftones style vocals, in addition to new accompaniment from spacious melodies.
The EP’s beautiful yet sobering single, “Speeding,” sings of the realization that heartbreak on the horizon. The lyrics explore the process of coming to terms with the loss of someone, along with the death of the relationship as a whole. The song features drums mimicking a slow yet strong heartbeat, anchoring the flowing guitar lead melody. “Speeding” is the perfect showcase to present to listeners the vast difference in this EP from anything fans have heard before, while maintaining the comfort of a familiar voice.
Standout track “Around You” kicks off with an incredibly calming minute-long instrumental. The song is a simple one, built on airy reverb guitar, a smooth and deep bassline and slow driving drums. When pieced together alongside O’Donnell’s haunting vocals, the song becomes masterful, and much greater than the sum of its parts. The second to last track on the EP, “Amber Waves,” switches gears, and lands in a much more upbeat tone. It begins to introduce new sounds with an almost synth-style lead guitar adding body, as well as a thicker bass line that seems to rattle the rib cage.
Blunt Razors dirty up their signals and bring in the overdrive to close out the EP on a cover of Kate Bush’s “Under Ice.” Different from the rest of the EP, “Under Ice” carries similarities to songs on PMFS’s previous 2016 album, while mixing in a softer yet familiar tone that fans are sure to be comforted by. This cover adds grittiness to the guitar, more complex drums and darker vocals.
Though things around the world seem bleak, people’s dire straits couldn’t stop the creative growth of O’Donnell and Keener on their debut EP Early Aught. The album is a six-song collection that showcases a completely different side to the duo that will intrigue fans while comforting them with familiar tones and vocals. It is slow and smooth all the way to the end, capturing the mind and slowing down breathing with the simplicity of each track; the group manages to strip back to basics, all while being anything but basic.