In Black and White – The Thermocline / 2006 Self / 5 Tracks / http://www.in-black-and-white.net / Reviewed 25 December 2006
In Black and White do not give an indicator of how they sound on the front cover of “The Thermocline”. The cover is actually just a representation of the name of the band, with black and white text. The only ornamentation comes with a grouping of four penguins that are present on the inside of the cover. In Black and White starts out their album with “Thermocline”, a track that is very emotive. The instrumentation on this track swirls around, reminding listeners of early turn of the century Deep Elm bands.
The second track of “The Thermocline” is “Upside”, and shows the band as one that is influenced by acts like Weezer alongside Fugazi and The Appleseed Cast. At all points during this EP, there is a professionality that far outstrips the length of time that the band has been around. “Upside” is a hard hitting track that mixes fuzzy guitars with intensely focused efforts by the band. Each subsequent track on “The Thermocline” shows this same desire to create the hardest hitting and most approachable of tracks on the album. While each song showcases a slightly different In Black and White, the best thing that can be pulled from every song on this EP is that the band can create a cohesive sound while maintaining a distinctive sound. The band also shows that they did not front load the best tracks on “The Thermocline”.
“United We Dants” is one of the strongest tracks on the album, blending together a dance rhythm with the same hard-hitting, At The Drive In approach to things. The band ends their EP with “Billfold”, a track that calls forth early Against Me! and Latterman in the creation of a perfect ending to an already-solid EP. The band may only have given their listeners 5 tracks to chew on, but the high replay value and intricate nature of these songs makes it easy for individuals to just leave this disc on repeat. There is little that the band has to do to increase their stock in my eyes. The production is solid, the tracks are catchy as hell, and the only question left for In Black and White to answer is whether they can create a full album in the vein of “The Thermocline” with the same talent and skill showcased.
Top Track: United We Dants