Posted by: will | October 26, 2006

Bound Stems…

Bound Stems “Appreciation Night” (Flameshovel)

Buy it at Insound!

The first thing I ever reviewed on SAL was Bound Stems previous release, The Logic Of Building The Body Plan. So, it is nice to see that the band has capitalized on the promise that I spoke about in my earlier review. This is Bound Stems debut full-length album and it’s a schizophrenic, yet wildly enjoyable affair. The band has taken their eccentric nature to even broader heights on Appreciation Night and for the most part it works extremely well.

One thing that jumps out at me on Appreciation Night is the influence of a band like Modest Mouse on Bound Stems. It’s not a band I referenced in my last review of the band’s material. However, it is definitely noticeable, especially on the album’s second track, the addictive “Andover” which ends with the lyrics Play our songs and never grow up! “At What Point Did You Stop Believing Me?” is a beautiful song which once again recalls Modest Mouse…although in a more downtempo and colder manner. On the more atmospheric “Pulling On Pigtails”, the addition of Janie Porche adds female vocals to the band’s already extensive repertoire. The ending of the song sounds wonderfully familiar to Sufjan Steven’s notorious singalongs. “Book Of Baby Names” is a nice change of pace as it provides a spoken word piece over Bound Stems always intricate musical landscape. Several tracks like “Wake Up, Ma and Pa Are Gone” and “Risking Life & Limb For The Coupon” appeared on the band’s previous EP and return here on Appreciation Night. It’s for good reason as both songs are album highlights.

At 15 tracks and over 47 minutes, Appreciation Night is the sound of a band feeling their way and slowly but surely coming into their own. Perhaps it’s a little long winded and ambitous but I’d rather see a band take chances rather than play it safe. Bound Stems never play it safe and the confidence that exudes from such a young band is an exciting thing to witness. Appreciation Night isn’t the sound of a band that has hit their stride just yet. It is most certainly an album that bodes well for the future of the band though.

RIYL: Modest Mouse, Menomena, The Dismemberment Plan


Bound Stems – Andover (mp3)

Bound Stems – Western Biographic (mp3)



  1. I can’t wait to see them at CMJ, it’s nice to hear a challenging band getting the attention they deserve.

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