Inbokeh – Into the Sun
Power trios seem to be the model for many modern indie rock bands and the motivations are obvious. Fewer band mates means a bigger piece of ever dwindling financial pie, three piece configurations are far easier in a live setting, and the associated costs with touring aren’t as immense. Power trios, as well, generate unique energy that larger lineups can only approximate. Midwestern alt rockers Inbokeh bring a signature spin to the genre thanks to their setup, but their ultimate effect on listeners extends far beyond lineup size. The six songs on their debut release Into the Sun have an excellent balance between rock and melody. Nothing is ever too poppy, but the melodic elements round off the rougher edges of Inbokeh’s sound without ever neutering their musical muscle.
“Cool Days” kicks Into the Sun off with an unexpected deliberate pace. Perhaps it was too easy to expect an uptempo opener, but it’s easy to believe this choice is one of many signals Inbokeh loves overturning listener’s expectations. The song develops patiently, but its dramatic melodies and wide screen production values are clearly intended to hook people into hearing the remaining songs. The band’s mood turns fatalistic and defiant on the wonderfully titled “Too Good to Be My Devil”. It’s a song with a number of interesting tempo shifts and, as a result, depends a great deal on Cody Smith’s prowess to pull the track off. “Spend Time” has lyrical content that falls in line with the EP’s other songs and an explosive thrust that embodies the lightly stated desperation behind the words. It’s the closest that Inbokeh comes to unleashing their full musical fury on Into the Sun and makes for an outstanding follow-up to “Too Good to Be My Devil”.
“Head Out into the Sun” derives much of its appeal from how it plays like a track teetering on the edge of explosiveness but never quite realizing its concussive power. This is an intentional move that gets the song percolating from its earliest moments onward. Each of the instruments is tightly synced up and never seems to play at cross purposes. It’s a mark of a great band when they can effortlessly find a groove and complement each other so well. The next song, “Stay”, aims for similar effects with its rolling guitars that seem mere notes away from resolving themselves, but the songwriting doesn’t hit with the same impact. Inbokeh continue to play with the same undeniable chemistry, however, and the polish they bring to this song, like others, maximizes their potential rather than draining them dry.
“Ghosts in My Hallway” finishes Into the Sun on a note of summation. Inbokeh resist any inclinations towards self-indulgence, a sure mark of maturity, but they are clearly hoping that this final song works as a slightly more ambitious restatement of their songwriting concerns. “Ghost in My Hallway” does an excellent job and sports, arguably, the best lyrics on the release. Into the Sun ends on a high note, but the entire EP has something to offer every rock music fan.
9 out of 10 stars.