Excerpt: “The guys of Umpire are obviously working with a motif: the lyrics, musicality, even the album cover — featuring a wide blue sky and open field — of Now We’re Active all are driven by a sense of expansiveness. The group uses echoistic qualities, minimal but well-placed drums and pointed song titles (“The Canyon” is a literal example) to convey a sense of the natural, the wide and serene. Each track sounds polished and extremely well crafted yet incredibly sincere, primarily due to the soaring, evocative quality of the vocals. Now We’re Active has an astounding sense of progression. Somewhat repetitively employing the use of loud-soft-loud dynamics (think Death Cab for Cutie), the musical and songwriting talents of these guys produces some real standout tracks…. Were every track on Now We’re Active to be as perfectly balanced as “On The Fringes,” the album would be much more of a standout. As it is, the LP is still an extremely strong debut but sometimes struggles with a lack of variety in its song structures. Within the expansive feel of Umpire’s music, that just means they have room to grow.”
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