Dowsing, in their words, put out some “feel good sad jams.” From Chicago, Illinois and signed to Count Your Lucky Stars Records, these guys and gal are just your average homework loving, video game addict, food fiends with feelings they need to explore.
Heavy on the crash, ‘That Would Be A Lot Of Cool’ was written along with all of the songs for their first 7 inch but was never used, unsuitable with the vibe of the rest of the record. It’s got a really cutesy way of exposing vulnerability and infatuation; the sort of thing you can only find in a pop/emo album which Dowsing formulates masterfully, bringing those elements close to home. As the result of a decision the band made while recording their full length (“It’s Still Pretty Terrible,”) the alternative version of ‘Somerset’ was born. Personally, I prefer the acoustic version they decided on for the full length over their original plan for the song. The drums seem superfluous, and in no way due to their arrangement. It just appears as though this song were meant to be played sitting on a couch in someone’s basement, with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a can of Blue Ribbon.
Parker, also signed to Count Your Lucky Stars Records are from Rockford, Illinois and feature ex-members of Stop Motion Call, State Capitals, and Your City/State as well as members of Warren Franklin and Joie De Vivre. Following along the same lines, their sound lends emotion to everyday occurrences, laments about the past and keeps a pretty upbeat punk-pop tempo despite the emo context. I should add, they describe themselves as wizard rock, whatever the hell that is; unless Parker is comprised of those kids who played Dungeons and Dragons and back in high school (or even these days). This guess is all I’ve got.
Their track ‘Make It Home Safely’ is my favorite on the split, which could be easily relate to anyone who’s changed during a relationship in opposition to their partner. It’s catch chorus of “You always told me, you liked my hair better short. You always told me, you liked me better before.” really hooks you into the sensitive and simple strumming of the guitar and excellent drumming that hold the whole thing together in a precious little bundle.
‘Eleanor Roosevelt’ was way to indie/emo for my taste and didn’t have the same sort of hook on my emotion as their other contribution. Vocals were also lacking pitch in certain sections and I’m surprised the bassist didn’t fall asleep during the recording session with the repetition on his part, but I suppose some songs call for that. This track just wasn’t for me.
Similar to Superchunk, The Weakerthans and The Get Up Kids, this Dowsing/Parker split 7″ is a real treat and cheap as chips. It’s a great intro to either band, with some of their best and worst choices as new bands on the table for you to pick at and sampling with your fork. If you like peas and carrots, give it a taste.