Sylvia the Eagle
Jonathan Vance doesn’t need the DFA’s in-demand hipster-savvy productions to create his own angular dance-rock. Or at least that’s the impression that I get with Sylvia the Eagle.
The title cut on this six-song EP employs a clever slice of Fugazi-ish guitar jangle to underscore the shuffling, hi-hat disco. It’s appropriate since Vance is a former hardcore kid, who’s now co-opted his vigor, fury and volatility into a solid set of palpable beats. “Lycanthrope” features shimmering, reverse processed guitars and Vance’s heavily reverbed contemplation, while “Umbrella” — powered by bowel-shaking bass throbs, cowbell loops and stream-of-consciousness cries — rivals LCD Soundsystem in groovy pretentiousness. Still, Vance seems punk-rock enough not to be mired in the jaded elitism of his counterpart.
The stuttering, manic 2 1/2-minute “Fifteen,” with its loose torrent of drum fills and Vance’s spit-filled musings, feels a bit out of place on this record. Its scrappy old-school approach is exhausting, even for such a brief period of time. Thankfully, Run-Roc’s straight-ahead tech mix of “Umbrella” provides an enjoyable respite from the proceedings. For just six songs, Vance has spoken volumes. His EP is just the second for NYC up-and-comers Run-Roc. Still, it indicates good things to come, and in a city where a sound like this is dangerously familiar, that definitely says something.