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Unsigned the Magazine Album Review

Drowning – Before Dawn

By: T. Mathenia

Before Dawn an Austin, TX based duo has delivered an complex yet simple New Wave album called Drowning. Rob Houle and Kate Arpke have created an album that is full of rich layers. There’s a New Wave feel which rests firmly in electro beats that are driving and hypnotic. Rob Houle’s voice is a murky blend of emotional tremble and fierce seriousness that is reminiscent Adam Ant. The keyword here is reminiscent as Houle’s voice has more soaring range to it.  It is hard to believe that its just two people creating such a thick and robust yet perky sound. Where ‘Lover’ has a definite electro feel to it, ‘Score’ is more rock influenced. The guitar riffs on ‘Drowning’ are strong and catchy while Kate and Rob’s vocals combine to lend an urgent feel to the tune that boils the blood and escalates the senses.

Inanna Naked Review

Review by Héctor Noble Fernández

In Spanish:

Intensa emoción electro-voltaica, guitarras y disco. Independientemente de todas las sensaciones presentes en su música hay una cosa que haréis irremediablemente cuando estéis escuchando a Before Dawn, MOVEROS. Incluso si los percibís en todo momento como una banda de rock el motor es electrónico y el pulso disco es sólido y casi invariable. Puede parecer una dualidad simple pero el número de influencias es notable y el tratamiento de las guitarras es amplio, incluyen detalles de electro, techno, after punk, punk y sonidos más oscuros y no notaréis ninguna ruptura en el constante y bailable ritmo de la máquina. Pero lo más atractivo para un lector de Inanna Naked es el hecho de que tienen algo, son intensos, espasmódicamente intensos; la música es como una mezcla de un impulso nervioso y una emoción amplificada; la voz está entre un grito, un gemido y un lamento y el conjunto es siempre penetrante e irresistible.

In English:

Intense electro-voltaic emotion, guitars and disco. Independently from all the sensations present in their music there is one thing you will irremediably do when listening to Before Dawn, MOVE. Even if you perceive them at any moment as a rock band the engine is electronic and the disco pulse is strong and almost invariable. It can seem a simple duality but the number of influences is notable and the guitars treatment is wide, they include subtle details from electro, techno, after punk, punk and darker sounds and you won’t notice any rupture in the constant and danceable rhythm of the machine. But the most attractive thing for an Inanna Naked’s reader is the fact that they have something, they are intense, spasmodically intense; the music is like a mixture of a nervous impulse and an amplified emotion; the voice is between a shout, a moan and a wail and the whole is always penetrating and irresistible.

Gearwire Magazine Interviews

Live interviews with Chicago based Gearwire Magazine. We discussed some of our music making gear.

Future Music Magazine, UK.

Category: Music

“…This could worm its way into the UK New Rave scene….Try this and you will jump off of a bandwagon that’s died, and straight on to a fresh one – bags of potential here.”

Review by Elliot Cole

(Pastepunk, Alternative Press, Status, Soundcheck)

“For a two-piece, it would only be appropriate that Before Dawn is a band based on duality. The music of Rob Houle and Kate Arpke has an unrefined edge masked by a veil of mechanics; an interplay that serves as the crucial element permeating throughout the group’s songs. Whether they are exploring the nuances of indie rock, mixing in bits of new wave sass or crafting a dancy electro pop beat, Before Dawn does everything with a sense of polarity. For the Austin duo, every raw chord comes with a polished rhythm, each perfection with a refreshing imprecision. It’s a delicate balance that few bands can approach with anything near the consistency and creativity as Before Dawn.

At times, it’s surprising that two people can create so many layers in their music. Before Dawn is by no means a “small band”, but rather a kick-in-the-balls sequence of strong guitar riffs and infectious bass lines. This isn’t simplistic head bopping music, but ass shaking tunes with a heartbeat, a direct reflection of the sincerity and integrity of the group. Rob and Kate never give the impression that their performance is overly calculated or redundant, but rather come off as the band that will drive 50 miles to play for a drink and a slice of pizza, just for the chance to perform and spark the crowd.

They wear their influences on their sleeve; Interpol-esque basslines complement the epic rock style of Muse or the post punk sounds New Order. However, their sound is entirely their own, a culmination of both familiar influences and fresh innovations.

With “Drowning” set for release, Before Dawn is able to bottle the genuine expression of their live show. Tracks like “Lover” reveal Before Dawn’s electronic influence. “Score” allows the band to show off their rock n’ roll chops with a touch of new wave revival. “Drowning” is as consistent as it is diverse, making for an appropriate introduction to the group’s eclectic influences and styles, as well as their distinctive sense of contrast.”

- Elliot Cole

Soundcheck Magazine

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