A Very Special Episode - Cut For Time Review

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A Very Special Episode is a New York-based trio blending the grit of post-punk with the atmosphere of shoegaze, tied up with energy filled pop hooks. Currently signed to Knuckle Down Records, this group presents a unique sound, pulling from many inspirations, yet also featuring its own distinct qualities. With their sophomore EP "Cut for Time" the band presents a concise yet fun listen full of bass grooves, dynamic vocal melodies, and moody guitar riffs which provide a strong statement for what this band is.

Kicking off the EP is "Gravity", a big crashing opening statement almost reminiscent of a Janis Joplin style. Guitars give the track it’s distinct feel with its choresy sound. It’s a nice change of pace from many of the overdriven guitar tones heard in most rock, and is one of the defining aspects of the band’s sound. Although the song is a powerful opening statement for the EP which really showcases the power in vocalist Kacey Heisler's voice, it is a bit of a different direction musically than the rest of the EP. The track is slower and darker; a heavy contrast from the second track

."Still Here" picks up the pace immediately with a quick yet memorable jam comparable to a track by The Cure. The bass is definitely highlighted in this track, giving the song it's driving yet bouncy feeling. This allows for the guitar to be used in a more distant and supporting way rather the leading the song. It's a nice change of pace from the EP's opener and is one of the highlights of the release. With A Very Special Episode being a three-piece band, every instrument is given a chance to shine. This track is a great representation of what each band member adds to the groups sound.

"Crazy" is the moment on the EP which best shows the range of singer Kacey Heisler's voice. This track arguably is the most single-worthy on the EP, giving off a vibe of Blondie meets No Doubt. It's a marriage which gives the track it's dancey vibe, making not moving to it almost impossible. With driving guitar riffs, crashing drum rhythms and catchy vocal melodies, this is a great way to build upon the energy given in the last track. Ooo's end the track in a catchy and fun way, which would have been even more fun if the vocals stood out more in the mix.

With "Invitation to Delete" the chemistry between band members is really shown off with a tight groove. It's led off with a very vibey odd meter guitar and drum groove, one of the EP’s most memorable moments. "Invitation to Delete" is the longest track on the EP, and with good reason. It offers possibly the most to say musically of all the songs, with each section of the track having its own memorable moments. Echoey vocals bring back the 80's vibes strongly, sharply contrasted by a scathing spoken second verse. The subdued guitars allow for the song to move, yet the message shines through bright because of the intense vocal delivery.

Closing the EP is the "On Our Own Again", a bit moodier of a direction musically that still features many of the musical elements from other tracks. This track allows the guitar to take more of a lead, with the drums being the main element which gives the track it’s dynamic energy. At first, the contrast between verses and choruses may throw off the listeners ear, but with repeated listens it shows how the track really brings the EP full circle.    

"Cut for Time" is a great defining moment for A Very Special Episode. Their unique blends of moody, atmospheric, dynamic, and catchy musical elements bring something brand new to the table while being familiar enough for fans of rock to ease into the band's style. This is a band whose skills would definitely shine live. However, this EP does a great job of showing off their talents and giving an idea of what this band is about. A Very Special Episode shows a lot of promise, this EP is a great indication of things to come.

Favorite Tracks: "Crazy, Still Here"

By Matty Jiles

Cover art by Emmy Shalaway