8-Bit Revival, You’ve Been Believed, Minor Manor

You’ve Been Believed, the third album from Dayton, Ohio art punks 8-Bit Revival, is a pristine (but not sterile) and engaging record that the band recorded in the basement studio of drummer Jayson Hartings.  “i wish you weren’t horrible” is a hooky, herky-jerky opener, that immediately shows Harting’s skills behind the skins.  Call and response vocals between guitarists Shane Weber and Tim Krug during the song’s chorus drive home the tune’s 90s indie guitar rock vibe, perhaps because of Weber’s vocal similarity to Braid’s Bob Nanna.  “man made gods” and “tunable ghosts” are fantastically tight indie pop songs that push the boundaries of what pop should sound like when it is set to angular riffing and the lock-step, off-timed rhythms of Hartings and bassist/co-vocalist Alan Baker.  While the band is quirky, they never sacrifice hookiness for weirdness.  I really appreciate the band’s self-assuredness in this area because they manage to avoid making something that sounds over-wrought and that would otherwise ruin an upbeat and memorable song and record.  “kids get caught” jumps off with buzzing guitars that make way for one of many of the records highlights – a song with both poppy immediacy and edginess.  The stop-start rhythms in the bridge and the gang vocals make way for the record’s most memorable moments, complete with sing-along “whoas.” Baker’s presence is perhaps most noticeable during the moody, post-punk grooviness of “”wake up”.  By Pixies-esque, slow- burn closing track “politics are better at night” it is clear that each of these guys bring their own distinct skillsets to the band and that 8-Bit would be an incomplete picture if any of these personalities weren’t present.  Simply, these guys have an enviable friendship, and a mature understanding and respect for the music they make together.  And having seen them grow over the years, it is no surprise to me that this record is one of the strongest and most rousing local releases in recent memory.  8-Bit are the kind of confident, competent band that takes chances without stooping to apeing anybody else’s sound or cherry picking the popular sounds that would make the record a cookie-cutter version of somebody else’s work.  You’ve Been Believed stands strong on its own merits, and it is my sincerest hope that a week on the road early this April will create the buzz the band needs to continue building the audience they deserve.

Recommended For Fans Of: Braid, Dismemberment Plan, Les Savy Fav