Excerpt: “These songs are both cerebral and sentimental, swerving through tricky structures and wordplay even as singer-guitarist Geoff Symons waxes romantic… Like Transatlanticism-era Death Cab for Cutie, Umpire uses the dramatic tides and crashes of post-rock and math-rock to heighten the emotion of what’s essentially muscular guitar-pop. On tracks like ‘The Canyon’, there’s a clean-cut lilt to Symons’ voice that can’t help but recall Ben Gibbard’s. That said, these songs also have the stop-start volatility of cult ’90s guitar heroes like Polvo and Chavez. Produced with absolute crispness by bassist Simon Struther, the instruments move like an intricate conversation between old friends. Which makes sense, given the long history of these players… This is a very specific kind of indie rock: inventive and self-aware but grounded in ringing melodies and lived-in emotions. Now We’re Active is weird, guitar-addled fun.”
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