“How To Swim” will immediately catch the ears of anyone lucky enough to listen in; whether it is the splashy drums or the utterly bombastic arrangements that initialize the title, “Picket Fence” is immediately set up as a definitive release. Emotive vocals mix up with a scintillating arrangement that moves between Alkaline Trio, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and even Incubus. What results on “How To Swim” and the rest of “Picket Fence” is something that defies convention, while still representing something that will impress anyone that picks up this release.
The disc’s next track, “Mexico”, has a slower tempo to it that allows Montana 1948 to build a foundation which the latter tracks on “Picket Fence” can build. Changing up their sound slightly, “Mexico” has Montana 1948 mesh together Franz Ferdinand and The Killers will the rich feeling of early-oughts Deep Elm bands (Appleseed Cast, Desert City Soundtrack). Where all constituent elements of Montana 1948 are great on their own, there is something that can be said about the drums that are laid down during “Mexico”. Rather than merely keeping time or otherwise filling in any holes on the track, they struggle with the guitars and vocals for dominance all while further establishing the band as one to check out. “Streetlights” represents two things for Montana 1948. First off, the track itself blends together the initial offerings on “Picket Fence”, but does it in a way that keeps the band’s momentum through the EP’s final gasps. Secondly, the track itself provides the band with another tool that they can use in any future LPs or other releases that they may release.
Add “January Jones” to the EP and one has an effort that, in the space of fourteen minutes, gives listeners a good introduction to a great band. Despite this EP being something that will stay in my CD changer for a long time, I still feel that Montana 1948’s live show would expand on what listeners are hit with on this album. With tremendous energy and moxie present here, I can only imagine how hard they would rock on a live stage. Pick up “Picket Fence” and see if the band is coming to your neck of the woods.
Top Tracks: How To Swim, Streetlights
Montana 1948 – Picket Fence / 2010 Self / 4 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/mt1948