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CD review: Girl Pants' Gloss; Jupiter 

Independent; Release Date: October 2014

The Office Sessions acted as an interesting post-mortem for Charlotte screamo (read: Hot Cross, not Hawthorne Heights) outfit Oddczar. Oddczar was long finished by the time the quick-hit split single with Greensboro heavies Barrow hit the Internet in August, but it found the quintet bowing out on a high note. "Purple Hearts" was bigger and bolder than anything else the band had done, adding depth and dynamics to the band's rote Pg. 99-isms by augmenting its powerful pummel with post-rock builds and panoramic textures, a la Touche Amore.

But "Purple Hearts" also served as a template going forward. Four-fifths of Oddczar now comprises two-thirds of Girl Pants (the two bands overlapped ever so briefly), and that innate familiarity serves as a boon on the latter's debut companion EPs, Gloss and Jupiter, which feel less like a nascent act trying to find its bearings than a sure-footed progression from one project to the next.

Nominally, Girl Pants is still fundamentally a post-hardcore band, if an acute one. Songs surge with a serrated fury, powered by frantic shouts come and kinetic riffs. Gloss' title track and Jupiter's "Hotel" explode into exemplary catharses following hairpin turns through driving, angular guitar-chug. ("Hotel," too, features some great references to Yeats' "Second Coming," displaying Girl Pants' keenly affecting intellectual brood.) These payoffs are painted in broad strokes, its textural flourishes imbuing Girl Pants with the widescreen scope such kindred bands as Pianos Become the Teeth have made their calling card.

Girl Pants, for sure, bends more experimental than Oddczar did, and its granular touches buttress even the EPs' weaker efforts. Gloss' "Coliseum" slogs along on three pretty pedestrian sections, each of which sloshes along on telegraphed chord changes and too-easy dynamic shifts. But the swashes of noise and atmospheric accoutrements add absorbing texture: Bleeping feedback loops and machine-like sighs occupy the blank space the song's first third; a slowly sweeping phaser on the distorted guitars imparts a little extra movement to the song's otherwise plodding middle third. Even if the outcome isn't overwhelmingly outstanding, it's certainly interesting, and offers a promising glimpse to what Girl Pants will become when it sharpens its already solid efforts.

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