Typecast: Word Sits Heavy
My musical taste tends to weigh heavily on first impressions. (Yes, I know I can be quite judgmental.) This is why I never liked Incubus, for instance, because I thought they were a sterile, cleaned-up version of Faith No More (whom I really liked) when I first heard them. It’s a good thing, then, that when I first encountered Typecast over a decade ago, when the then-trio performed at a friend’s 18th birthday bash, I had not listened to a single note of Dashboard Confessional, or even Cursive, for that matter. So neither their music nor singer/guitarist Steve Badiola’s voice really reminded me of anyone else’s at the time; if anything, Badiola’s hybrid arpeggio/chordal guitar style and the band’s three-piece dynamics reminded me of early Jawbox and that band’s singer/guitarist J. Robbins’ later outfit, Burning Airlines. To this day I wonder if my first impression of Typecast would have changed if I was more well-versed in early 2000’s emo, and I do remember finally hearing Chris Carabba’s voice on the radio shortly after that gig and thinking, “Oh, so that’s who he’s ripping off.” Still, it didn’t matter; those kids from Laguna blew me away that evening, and I was hooked.
I like Typecast. I wouldn’t even file the band under my list of guilty pleasures despite my post-punk and indie rock-leaning taste because I sincerely enjoy their music, which, despite the addition of a second guitarist and the occasional sonic embellishments (the band’s last record, 2011’s How Your Influence Betrays You, had some electronic beats mixed in), has always remained the same, at least stylistically. Typecast’s new record, the four-song Word Sits Heavy EP, is a diet-portioned serving compared to any of the band’s three previous full-length releases, but fans are bound to find it satisfying nonetheless. Chi Resurreccion’s distorted bass and ex-drummer Melvin Macatiag’s relentless drumming on opening track “Gasoline” recall Thursday’s more furious material (“Dead Songs” easily comes to mind), while in utter contrast, Badiola lets the tender melodies out on “Ceiling,” his vocals effectively bolstered by guitarist Pakoy Fletchero’s tastefully picked single-note lines. “For Your Sake” has all the elements of some of Typecast’s previous radio staples like “This Kind of Silence,” “Another Minute Until Ten,” and “The Boston Drama”: a great guitar hook, driving pop-punk dynamics, and big choruses. Finally, title track “Word Sits Heavy” closes the EP with a steady bass pulse, more ingenious guitar work, and as always, a lot of drama.
Historically, Typecast isn’t the country’s first emo/post-hardcore outfit (many cite On a Day Like Today, fronted by Mark Redito a.k.a. Spazzkid, as bearers of that title), but they’re arguably the most influential, which is no small feat considering that they dabble in a genre that has purely American origins, and has somewhat been ridiculed as of late for its recurring, if not tiresome sonic formula. However, fifteen years into the band’s existence, the members of Typecast have stuck to their guns and their chosen sound, coming up with good records and consistently tight live sets. While it’s not exactly genre-bending or mind-blowing, Word Sits Heavy is a worthy addition to Typecast’s respectable body of work, and is another prime example of post-hardcore done right. I’ve long since accepted the fact that the band’s music isn’t entirely original-sounding, but it’s done right. Badiola still sings like Chris Carabba, and he can keep doing so for all we care, as long as he keeps penning great anthems for his skilled and tasteful cohorts to arrange and perform.
Stream the EP on Spotify and purchase it via iTunes, Amazon, or at the band’s shows. “Like” Typecast on Facebook and follow the band on Twitter for updates.