There’s a certain fluidity to bands; it’s not unheard of for a member or members to bounce between groups while working out different sounds. Such is the case with Pittsburgh band Adventures, a group that formed last year, and consists of few members of hardcore group Code Orange Kids as well as some of their friends. The band released a 7″ EP last September, and Clear My Head With You, out yesterday through No Sleep Records, is their second release.
Outings like Clear My Head With You are win-wins for fans and artists: the fans are getting new music from a young group with a small catalog, and the artist gets to explore their sound more and more. And, over the course of this EP’s four songs and eleven minute runtime, it’s easy to get the feeling of a band flexing some new found muscle. Adventures doesn’t revel in Code Orange Kids’ hardcore past, but you can hear that influence in the band’s palm-muted guitars and lumbering tempos. The belted vocals, tight instrumentation, and sky’s the limit riffs are all Adventures, and some of the EP’s strongest elements.
Even at just four songs ranging from a minute and a half to not quite three and a half minutes, the tracks sound fully formed. Opener “I Can’t Stay” is a great point of entry; the song has the same loud-soft approach as the rest of Clear My Head With You, but sounds the most celebratory of the bunch, the lightest. The vocals yearn and stretch words almost to their breaking point, but never overdo it, and hit the sweet spot between singing and yelling to great effect.
The creative direction of Adventures is only known to them, but I’d guess that they see a future in the cathartic, riff-heavy, anthem-style songcraft that is “Promises”. It’s the most dynamic song here with tightly wound sections leading into the EP’s most epic stretches. All of the EP is fully formed, but the structure and deliberate size of “Promise” make it sound more planned than the other cuts. I’m sure it’s a great one to hear live, too.
The second half of Clear My Head With You is more experimental and more sparse. Closing tune “The Light Brings Without” has the cleanest sound of anything here, and the guitar arrangements and prominent bass throughout are almost hypnotic (think Microcastle-era Deerhunter). There’s still plenty of the murkiness from the rest of the EP present, but balancing it with the blissful atmosphere of “The Light Brings Without” helps strengthen both. The song’s foil, the title track, begins in waves of noise, and the slowburning crunch barely lets up over the song’s three minute run. Under the layers of distortion, taut bass, pummeling drums, and outright distress, “Clear My Head With You” is something of a ballad, and the EP’s emotional center.
From a lyrical standpoint, Clear My Head With You is a very introspective and searching album. There are multiple references to home, searching, and of course, that you. For being relatively light on words, there’s still the feeling of a story being told: “I Can’t Stay” ends with the titular declaration, whereas “The Light Brings Without” dejectedly comes back home. The sense of wandering is made stronger by the music, which can sound like it stretches far and wide, but insular all the same. There’s a lot of thinking going on here.
But, lots of progress all the same. Adventures’ first EP was enjoyable, but had the nervous energy of a band just starting to play together; everyone was having fun while making something good, but it felt a little loose at the same time. Meanwhile Clear My Head With You is a more articulate, expressive, and distinct effort. Its short runtime and engaging songs make relistens very easy, and there’s always a little more to explore in each song. Here’s to more from Adventures from here on out.