Two Chicago bands – indie pop veterans Dowsing and the newly formed Parker – have teamed up for a split EP, Dowsing/Parker that is familiar enough to engage you, yet different enough to keep you listening.
Both being from the same Chicago scene, it’s unsurprising that the bands have similar sounds. Luckily for them, they’re not similar enough to get confused. Dowsing starts of side A with ‘That would be a whole lot of cool,’ a song that starts out with a vintage vibe before breaking in to a perfect balance of emo angst and bouncy, pop instrumentals. The vocals are a bit harsh, an interesting contrast to the very upbeat guitar melody.
Their followup, ‘Somerset,’ is much more subdued. This song shows off Dowsing’s ability to tell a story. It is not overt, but they paint a picture of a moment and transport you there. Somerset is a beautiful example of that, especially with the lyrics: “Stayed up late to /reevaluate the meanings/to see where I went wrong/Past the cemetery/get on the highway/ right by your house/it’s the dead things that haunt me/ and I just want to feel alive again.” Uncomplicated but emotional lyrics coupled with simple melodies are the perfect match to the first track’s almost chaotic vibe.
<a href=“http://countyourluckystars.bandcamp.com/album/dowsing-parker-split-7” data-mce-href=“http://countyourluckystars.bandcamp.com/album/dowsing-parker-split-7”>Dowsing/Parker split 7" by Dowsing & Parker</a>
As soon as Parker’s first track ‘Make It Home Safely’ begins, you know you’re in different territory. The drums hit you first and act as a backbone to the entire track, keeping it edgy. This is coupled with discordant melodies and vocals straining on the edge of a breaking point, creating a ton of dimension in a mere two and a half minutes. It’s almost as if you’re listening to a few different songs smashed together, in the best possible way.
Parker’s second track, ‘Eleanor Roosevelt,’ is a huge contrast to the first. The vocals are simplified, the guitars and drums much calmer, and the lyrics are painfully honest, especially with, “I’m sorry I didn’t turn out to be the man you thought I was/ I can’t offer you more/ and I’m not here to console you.” Parker’s picks for this split EP were smart. The vast difference between the two really leaves it open for what could be in between these two extremes, a smart tactic for a new band. They definitely leave you wanting more.
Overall, this EP was a smart way to tide fans over for an upcoming full-length, in Dowsing’s case, and an even smarter way to introduce their music to new fans, in Parker’s case. Teaming up with a already-known band, Parker couldn’t have made a better move. They end up outshining Dowsing, and it will be exciting to see what they produce in the future.
‘Split EP’ by Dowsing/Parker is available now on Count Your Lucky Stars Records.
Words by Jenny Bauer