Cost of Attrition - There You Go
Cost of Attrition is an Indianapolis-based musical unit with two members, vocalist Wheeler Castaneda and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Grow, but their small membership proves to be no obstacle towards them conjuring an impressive, all-encompassing sound. These are two performers who knew exactly how they wanted their music to sound when they turned their attention to recording this album. There You Go’s three songs don’t have even a whiff of tentativeness surrounding them and instead elbow, cajole, and pummel their way into the audience’s consciousness. Those songs stay there too thanks to the melodic values fueling each of the three tracks. Despite the accessibility of the songwriting, Cost of Attrition’s music has a strong intelligence guiding each of its arrangements. These are songs that, simply put, grab you and make sense. The coherence of the tracks makes for exciting listening because few performers this young ever sound so collected, so aimed towards a solid musical goal.
The first track, “Not Your Psycho”, has a strong metal edge thanks to Joshua Grow’s guitar, but it isn’t the mindless variety of masturbatory lead guitar. Everything Grow plays has a strong melodic sense and helps practically create a second vocal acting as counterpoint to Castaneda’s singing. Castaneda’s outstanding voice gets a lot of out of some backing vocals that come in at just the right spots, but this is clearly just gravy and not too much of a good thing as he’s quite clearly equipped to carry the songs without any assistance. The rhythm section has a massive sound, but it isn’t limited to bashing and thudding away. Instead, this is a rhythm section that moves and has genuine life. None of the EP’s songs run on too long and “Not My Psycho” is an ideal opener in both energy and length.
“Oh Yeah” embraces a poppier hard rock sound than the first track without losing any of its credibility. Castaneda’s voice is best heard in this sort of musical context; he has an excellent talent for being able to capitalize on melodies and this track allows him one of the EP’s best chances to do so. The rhythm section is as massive as before, but Grow pulls back on the guitar reins some and weaves the six string much more around the rhythm section than what we heard in the first cut. The final song and title track has a different air, but accomplishes many of the same goals. Few bands, two members or more, could make the acoustic textures of “There You Go” rock out as convincingly as Cost of Attrition yet maintain the same melodic excellence that they’ve pursued throughout the entirety of this EP. Grow’s bass line especially deserves distinction here – it complements the guitar quite well. It’s a great closer to a brief collection establishing this Midwestern duo as one of the most promising indie acts to emerge in recent memory. There You Go seems like just the tip of the iceberg, however, and one finishes it assured that the band’s first full length will reveal even more treasures.
9 out of 10 stars