In a world, as Elvis Costello recently described it, full of noisy things, it takes a lot of perseverance and guts to be quiet. If Ceilings, the Equal Vision debut album from local four-piece Alive In Wild Paint is any indication, the band is on a mission to spread tranquility through music. But tranquility is by no means synonymous with pop. Nonetheless, Alive In Wild Paint tries to find a balance between the two. It's a risky move, as the band skirts the bounds of several clichés (melody-centric vocal pop, emo, whining) but manages to be nimble enough to avoid them — all the more impressive considering that producer Mark Trombino (Jimmy Eat World) was at the helm. Ceilings begins with a somber piano number that's basically a big-pop ballad. Right away, though, the song demonstrates Alive In Wild Paint's skill at tucking away the more obvious pop elements and letting texture and substance shine through. Keys and lightly distorted guitars, for example, rest just-so in the mix to evoke a powerful sense of gloom. Ceilings could easily have been plastered in disgusting radio gloss. It isn't — a major triumph that makes the album's melancholy all the more convincing. Let's hope the band stays on course through the treacherous pop waters to which it's drawn.
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