Beijing: It’s Not So Simple

Debut EPs are tricky. Most bands like to show their range but its almost impossible to do in just three to five songs. If you show your range on a debut EP, the listener gets absolutely no sense of what type of band you are. If you do not show your range, the listener may write you off as a one trick pony. These are the issues Beijing must have struggled with while writing their debut EP, It’s Not So Simple.
The key to a successful debut EP is to have three songs that show a consistent style and tempo so that the audience can peg what kind of band they are listening to and then have one or two songs that deviate from the formula slightly. This is pretty much what Beijing does.
The EP kicks off with “Glitch,” a track that has all the energy of 90s Get Up Kids with a chord progression that is more indicative of bands like The Dismemberment Plan. Lead singer, Eric Thornberg’s voice reminds me of Eric Bachmann‘s work with Archers of Loaf. The track clearly establishes the group’s 90s indie sound.
That sound is built upon with the EPs second track, “Hands In Front.” The song has similar energy as “Glitch” but Thrornberg’s uses a slightly different voice. His voice gets raspy as he strains to hit notes just slightly out of his range, think of Archers of Loaf’s “Wrong.”
Where the band deviates from this basic sound is with the EP’s fourth and final track, “New Beginning.” The track starts with an Interpol-esque guitar line over just a kick drum but quickly adds sweeping guitar arpeggios over both. This layered, lush sound is something the other more raw tracks lacked. When Thronberg’s voice finally gets added to the mix, it shows him using a softer delivery that reminds me of Chris Simpson during the Mineral years. While the sound is not exactly NOT 90s indie, it does show a slightly more classic emo edge to the group.
Ultimately, It’s Not So Simple piqued my interest in Beijing. It shows a consistent vision in songwriting while exploring their sound in four distinct ways. The only critique I have is I would not have ended the EP with “New Beginning.” The song is the EP’s only “downer” and leaving it on that note does not leave the strongest picture of the band in my mind. But besides that slight critique, the EP marks an auspicious begin.
Rating: 7.8/10
MP3: Beijing “Glitch”
Buy: iTunes