After three years of live performance, two extended hiatuses and a legally mandated name change, Tell No One (formerly known as Akrasia) deliver Just Breathe and Resist, their second EP and first commercially available recording.
The band's sound owes a considerable debt to Dischord Records' founders and flagship act Fugazi. TNO employ a similar soft/harsh dynamic while flirting with math-rock song structures. At times they evoke the much-lauded, now-defunct Dischord band Faraquet, minus the jazz inflections.
Opener "Board Games" features serene, almost bucolic guitars that guide the verses to a driving chorus that hints at darker things to come. Those elements arrive in short order. In both "Reactions" and "Fail Logic," the vocals take a harsher tone that pushes beyond indie-punk shouting into the territory of stylized yelps and growls. The guitars move between sparse, hesitant melodies and angst-filled dramatics. One of the disc's most interesting moments occurs in the second track's finale, when the drums and distortion give way to a mournful guitar figure that stumbles through the suddenly empty space.
"Bored Games" is even moodier, with affected vocal samples that sound like they were carried over long-distance phone lines. These bits of audio appear intermittently over a backdrop of tremolo guitars. The track is a strong one, displaying a side of the band that merits further exploration.
"A Knife in My Romans" is the clear highlight of Just Breathe. On it, TNO deftly balance Mogwai-esque movements with solid bass work and propulsive drumming. The instrumental elements are nicely complemented by an insistent vocal that fits perfectly. When in their element, as they are here, Tell No One truly shine.
The band members were clearly raised on a steady diet of Dischord Records, but they still sound unique. The trio is a welcome and worthy addition to the Burlington music community, a scene they seem destined to outgrow.