New York City based trio The 101’s fourth album Numbers, produced by Ian Love (Rival Schools, Walking Concert), is a rockin’ and reliable indie rock standby with aggregates of punk waves, emo rills, and retro rock channels. The songs have a transcendent and shadowy quality like Bauhaus with shades of pop/rock cultures and the stylistic zephyrs of Motion City Soundtrack. The vocal prattles have a semblance to solo artist Jeff Caudill and leaven a folk/rock plumage conjoined by a surfeit of post new wave guitar effects.
Songs like “Dancing” and the title track ferment truculent movements riding through drum spikes and guitar vibrations. The music has chromatic gusts but the vocals lack conviction. The punk scuffles on “Gone” are coupled with post new wave frequencies and emo hinges that show ambition but lack implementing a needed dose of energy to make the combination work. The tracks exhibit great musical techniques but are deficient in promoting kinetics or a chemical reaction making them come off as mediocre and flat.
“Mott Haven” has rhythmic grooves ascribed with new wave miens tied into retro rock meters, but the pile up of sonic layers and lackluster vocals cause the number to lose its impetus. The music has flare but the vocal registers are plain, so they ride mismatched to the melody. Lead singer Eric Richter keeps in time with the melodic motions on “Tumble” but is outshined by his own guitar work and the rhythmic mounds of bassist and drummer Ben Balcomb and Jeremy Jones, respectively. Eric shows risks and brilliance in his guitar showmanship but vocally he holds back from setting his vocal cords free. Numbers takes the band up a rung but just shy of mounting the arena rock echelons. They lack stimulation vocally which is needed to propel an audience, though the music is there to make an impact of leviathan proportions.
Bauhaus – Swing The Heartache
Motion City Soundtrack – Commit This To Memory
Jeff Caudill – Here’s What You Should Do