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An excellent debut record from this group of Berklee grads.

Music Review: Via Audio – Say Something

This New York-based indie pop quartet met at Berklee College of Music in 2003, recorded a self-titled EP in 2004, and three long years later got signed to SideCho Records. Add to this the fact that Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie is a big fan of the band and that Jim Eno of Spoon produced their highly anticipated debut full-length Say Something (SideCho) and you've got a promising album the indie rock world will surely take notice of.

First song "Developing Active People" has slight delay tactics on guitar that could easily pass for Chris Walla's work with Death Cab (hence the unsurprising fact he's a VA fan). The bass guitar lines and inclusion of trumpets/horns on "Harder On Me" have the aura of recent Broken Social Scene. However, unlike that Canadian supergroup, this group of four doesn't need double digits worth of band members to put many layers of sound into their craft.

"Presents" is perhaps the catchiest one of them all, with its cutesy and infectious male/female vocals, short, electric guitar and keyboard spurts, a constant acoustic guitar melody, all performed over a constant, fast beat that rests only for a mere five seconds.

The slow, heavy, and crunchy chords of "Hazmat" recall Weezer, and the quieter understated melodies that end it are reminiscent of Pavement. The oscillating and tension-filled "Enunciation" shows off both the band and guitarist/singer Jessica Martins' versatility, going from quiet-loud-quiet vocals with relative ease over passive and kinetic minor (and uglier-sounding) melodies.

On my personal favorite "We Can Be Good," Martins sings, "If we try/I know that we can be good." Well, on just 11 tracks spanning 40 minutes, Via Audio, despite their apparent humbleness, proved they are very good at what they do. They went to a top music school after all, so they'd better be "good" at the very least!

What they've done with Say Something is make a very – for the most part – pumped up and listenable indie pop record for those with short attention spans. It's got some versatility, catchy tunes and impressive musicianship.

What more could you want? A perfect album, you say. There may be a couple of down moments on the record, but the fast pace and consistency of Say Something as a whole obscure any faults. It's an excellent debut, and fans of Death Cab For Cutie, Stars, or Magic Numbers will dig this without a doubt.

For more info on Via Audio and to buy their music or watch live performances, go to their Myspace page.

About Charlie Doherty

Senior Music Editor and Culture & Society (Sports) Editor at Blogcritics Magazine; Prior writing/freelancing ventures: copy editor/content writer for Penn Multimedia; Boston Examiner, EMSI, Demand Media, Brookline TAB, Suite 101 and Helium.com; Media Nation independent newspaper staff writer, printed/published by the Boston Globe at 2004 DNC (Boston, MA); Featured in Guitar World May 2014. Keep up with me on twitter.com/chucko33

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