by Jeff Milo
Over the last few years, Woodbridge-based The Summer Pledge were known for their throwback-emo aesthetic shrouded in dense, buzzy layers of guitar; synthesizers swirled in their dreamy, chiming charms and electronic drum beats pulsed fuzzy bursts that intertwined with auxillary drums - all so intricate - a tangled web weaved into a spyrographic rorscharch ...
"That all just got messy..." says Dustin Mclaughlin, singer/guitarist of the quartet, quick to clarify that their roots were in punk, particularly the hardcore scenes from the coasts. "The stripped-down 4-piece makes a lot of sense."
He quips something about how the older dudes would poke at him during Summer Pledge sets, through 08-09...that maybe he didn't need all those pedals. "Less is more," he's learned. The old dues were right.
Vessels, the band's 2nd full length album, coming out next month. You can hear some of the band's newest songs this Friday night, Friday the 13th -no less, at the Loving Touch in Ferndale. (The album release show is May 10th at the Magic Stick, fyi)
The songs are still, comparable to most indie-rock trips around town here, knotted-up neo-prog, tonal avalanches, kicked and tumbled across vaulting, soaring song structures). But the key word, Mclaughlin says, is: "focus..."
"I've been focusing a lot more on my vocals. We're all just focusing. Focusing individually on ourselves and as a unit...always trying to get better."
The Summer Pledge have always been consistent road-trippers, not content to just tour the Metro area or just the Mitten state. And after more than three years and numerous shows, from legit venues to spilled-out house parties, Mclaughlin has his own checklists for surviving tour, and it, like Vessels (focus!) can be summed up in one word:
"The biggest thing, on tour, is to stay healthy. We do our share of partying out there, but stay healthy.
Buildings, and Between Brains open the show - 9pm - Friday - at the Loving Touch.
BUILDINGS, BETWEEN BRAINS