In sonic terms, the name Tins is a somewhat maladroit name for this Buffalo trio, whose sound on this self-titled debut EP is bright, clean, and widescreen. And it serves the dynamics of these five songs quite admirably. The interplay between Mike Santillo (keyboards, vocals), Adam Putzer (guitar, vocals), and Dave Munter (drums) is very intuitive and the arrangements on the songs refuse to be pigeonholed as neopost punk or indie rock, even as those spring to mind easily. The leadoff song, "Subtle Rattle," is carried by the verses over a sinuous bass line punctuated by some incisive scratchy guitar and quiet/loud dynamism. Santillo and Putzer offer a compelling vocal tandem.
The standout track is "The Green Room," a seven-minute epic that throws in a mournful steel guitar trading licks with cascading keyboards and some stellar vocal harmonies. The feeling and tones in the song veer from a techno/country lamentation to resigned determination, and the pieces fit together very nicely, not unlike a satisfying jigsaw puzzle. Guitar and keyboards are equal partners in this collective and each coaxes the songs along with melodic and unpredictable invention.
At times, the cold-wave declamations of Talking Heads and Devo are in evidence, but there is also a distinct soulfulness and some West Coast harmonies. The Tins use the whole box, not just a couple of crayons, but the songs on this set are sturdy enough to be stripped to the bone or burnished with any number of sonic accoutrements. www.myspace.com/thetinsmusic.