Sitting at the bar in Great Scott at Saturday night all I could hear around me was the sound of everyone talking about how excited they were to see Tim Kasher. I was there to see Sinnet and I thought it strange that everyone would be so excited about the opener. It wasn’t till I saw the first band setting up on stage that I put one-and-one together. Tim Kasher was the Tim Kasher—from Cursive. And Sinnet wasn’t the headliner—they were the opener. I’d mistaken the lineup order. However, there at the risk of blaspheming it should have been Sinnet headlining that night.
It’s always fun to watch an act win over a disinterested audience. For Sinnet it took about 30 seconds to get a talkative crowd to quiet down and listen. The attractive thing about this band was their ability to goof off on stage—at one point they broke into an improvised version of the Bagel Bites jingle. You could tell they were enjoying themselves on stage. But before I give the wrong impression I should say Sinnet has some serious chops.
Sinnet’s sound is hard to classify. Guitarist and vocalist, sale Aaron Spransy describes it as “spooky-pants pop,” most likely referring to the haunted quality of their song Castlevania, which was named MP3 of the week in the Boston Phoenix back in early February of 2012. However, the monogram on their drum set—mountains that look like they’ve been drawn in crayon—and their use of synth-riffs, gives the spookiness of Sinnet’s sound a sense of sarcasm. “Castelvania,” sounds as if Sinnet drew their inspiration from the underworld level in Mario.. Though “Castlevania,” certainly demonstrates Sinnet’s creativity it would be hard to argue that it’s representative of the band’s overall sound.
Sinnet still seems to be at a point where they are trying on different styles—the difference from one song to another is so stark that all of them sound like different bands could have written them. The song “Let’s Play Poison” is reminiscent of the emo and skater rock, I cherished when I was still in middle school. “Paper Chandeliers” on the other hand has a lounge-like feel to it—its seductive dissonance seems appropriate for the title sequence of the next Bond Movie. Now if you’re looking for an explanation as to where Sinnet gets their eclectic sound, you could probably chalk it up to how the band was formed.
Two years ago Aaron Spransy (Guitar, keyboard and Vocals) was living in Milwaukee. After writing some music he began looking for other musicians to play what he had. Using Craig’s list he found, Mario Pedroso (guitar and vocals), John Drislane (drums) and Joel Reader (Bass and vocals)—all of which are Boston Locals. This patchwork group of Bostonian expats came together to put out Sinnet’s first EP “Midwestern Manners” which was released February of 2012.
And though they haven’t released any other recordings since, they’ve been hard at work and are ready to get back in the studio. After their set I sat outside with drummer John Drislane. “We got like four songs we need to record and we should be coming out with a single real soon.” Both Spransy and Drislane say the band doesn’t have enough material to record a full album, yet—but they’re hard at work and that’s what counts.
Now this isn’t all to say that the other acts of the night aren’t worth mentioning. Following Sinnet was Nate Kinsella’s one-man act, Birthmark. His sound can be described as ambient, ethereal, soothing, and minimalistic. With melodically beautiful yet simple looping, Kinsella had the audience in a trance. But its Birthmark’s vocals that are curious to me. With a grizzled, salt and pepper beard you’d expect Kinsella to growl into the microphone, instead there is a delicateness to his voice.
Cursive’s Tim Kasher has a desperate and yearning voice that’s perfect for drinking at dive bar after your girlfriend left you for another man. His songs are the sound of frustration, of things that aren’t fair, people that are twisted and moments that are absurd. His song writing abilities are brilliant, but as a solo act he failed to fill up Great Scott with his sound. A headliner should be able to fill the space; to make his or her sound feel like it was coming from all around you. Kasher’s voice rattled in the walls like pebbles in a can, which is why I think Sinnet should have been headlining that night.
Hopefully Sinnet will be coming out with new tracks soon. I imagine that if they keep playing enough people will start demanding a full-length album, which is the highest compliment that I can give to musicians. We want to hear more, so get to work.