Seattle's 764-HERO (named after the phone number used to report car pool lane violators in Washington) craft intelligent, angular emo-core founded on understated guitar/bass/drums arrangements emphasizing dynamics and subtle interplay between instruments. In the word department, the trio (John Atkins on vocals and guitar, Polly Johnson on drums and James Bertram on bass and vocals) alternate between direct, darkly melodic communication and more glancing lyricism.
On the group's latest, Weekends of Sound (produced by Built to Spill's Phil Ek), the pleasures come easy and often. In addition, as its immediate likability begins to flicker slightly, the submerged, complex charms of the album slowly rise to the surface. The casual way in which Atkins tosses off such jewels as the opener, "Terrified of Flight," the upbeat, harmony-rich "Without Fire" and the deliberately-paced "Out Like a Light" is a little disarming, but satisfying. The title track's anticipation and delicious tension is built on increasingly urgent playing. It finds Atkins ultimately hollering, "We're so tired of weekends of sound/And you will sit down, shut up and keep it honest" as if his life depends on it. Maybe it does. Anyway, that's the feeling you get. And that's just the first four songs.
Though the 764-HERO kids occasionally take a dive into the rocking deep end (the noisiest being "Left Hanging"), more often than not they stay to close the precepts of "less is more," using restraint and tact to shimmery good effect. Definitely, a band to watch.