Matt Scheuermann is both a man of connection and disconnection. As one of the guitarists parading around in the Sidekicks, he’s felt a burgeoning touring schedule surround one of Epitaph Records’ most promising emo acts. He’s linked up with Jeff Rosenstock’s Really Records with the acoustic-minded solo project American War. After that first one-man band folded, he slowed down his strumming patterns and tuned in to a different channel of emotional distance.
With his new project, lowercase roses (briefly known as roses), the sound of separation comes through as a gentle hum. Lo-fi hisses pervade the project’s maiden voyage, its three tracks kissed with static as unobtrusive as Scheuermann’s tenor-near-falsetto delivery. These bare-bones production values give way to equally simplistic arrangements. Opener “Boys” relies on indie hallmarks of light piano wanderings steadied by regulated downstrums.
“Preacher” offers an expanse not repeated elsewhere on the EP, perhaps due to the track’s length almost reaching six minutes. However, this additional space doesn’t necessarily spell new auditory territory. Lyric lines are drawn out far too long in Scheuermann’s mental sand, but the swap from clear, ringing acoustic guitar to sparse electric guitar calls back to the Sidekicks’ earlier, more pleading material.
That being said, “Summer Sounds” offers an indication of lowercase roses’ next bloom. Although the guitar melody remains reserved, Scheuermann’s soft vocals inch closer to sunnier shouts. The delicate piano work which opened the EP returns here with more pressure on each note, delivering a sense of movement which remained surprisingly absent from the rest of the running time.
With that last, hopeful moment in mind, lowercase roses’ muted mentality deserves another push for a louder, more involved second round. This first round just doesn’t flower as much as it could. Perhaps that’s why Scheuermann’s latest statement was rendered in lowercase.
Stereophonodon Records has given “roses” a cassette pressing, which includes a digital download. The release can be picked up via the label’s Bandcamp.