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ABC030 - AVEC "If I Breathe I Fall Asleep" CD - $10

1) While You're Down There  
2) 16 Minus 71 MP3
3) Dejectile MP3
4) Imprinting  
5) Beat Of Pulse  
6) Chryse Planitia  
7) Deceptive Cadence  
8) Mandragora  
9) Momenta  
10) Fair Euclid  


Someone should clone the voice of Avec's Shawna Potter-her dangerously sexy vocals are the highlight of an intriguing and genre challenging record from this Baltimore four piece. Beginning with her breathy intro on the opening "While You're Down There", Potter clearly establishes herself as a star waiting to explode, while Brooks Harlan offers a suitable counter to Potter's ethereal singing...the two of them make for an impressive tag-team on "Imprinting".

Musically, the band will entice fans of pop and[ing] Parallel Lines-era Blondie at times, before shifting gears to more darkly textured tracks such as "Deceptive Cadence" and "Mandragora".

Most impressive here is the constant, but not unnecessary, shifting of tempo and styles. The band did not attempt to force itself into defying its own sound, they simply moved effortlessly from atmospheric beauty to raunchier, guitar-bitten angst. Give this multiple spins, for this band is the musical equivalent of a brilliant author; there are subtleties to notice each time you listen.

– Rich Quinlan, Jersey Beat

8/10 — There must be a resurgence I didn't know about, what with a greater lot of bands doing the crunchy girl rock thing, reminding me of the days of Sarge and P.E.E. - Del Cielo, Scout, Bagheera - and now Avec. I'm sort of surprised they didn't call me, as I could probably at least squeeze out a backing vocal of "Oohs" or "Aahs," or "He ain't no good," but oh well. There's some potential lost there.

Of these existing, non-pipe dream girlie bands, however, Avec's time signatures are a bit more interesting than most, and their vibe tends to jibe more with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Denali - so they've got some grit under their fingernails. This is feminine post-emo for kids who still unabashedly love emo… for the guys who haven't entirely given up on the Emo Diaries comps, if even for that one standout single, and the girls who know more about Saves the Day than Bikini Kill.

Luckily for Avec, though, they're far better than all that. There's a whole other audience out there that may not even know they exist. It's a pity, really, and hopefully their relative obscurity won't last long.

They know how to tap into a more dynamic, rich sound, and they bask in their own complexity. On "While You're Down There," the depth comes from the vocals, where breathlessness turns into a roar, with frequent, pouty change-ups and melodrama. "16 Minus 71" adds smartness of guitars, beginning as a torch song and ending as a massacre, with sweetly stinging post-rock aesthetics keeping you on your toes. "Beat of Pulse" may even remind you of those glorious early days of Q and Not U, but with a brazen, yowling female filling in over the schisms.

"Deceptive Cadence" and "Momenta" continue the trend of bright, challenging rock, with rippling harmonies, empowered energy and bubbling discomfort. It is as though Engine Down and Rainer Maria got together to ponder their own philosophies and find their common ground. Emotions and volume begin to rise, but there is a heartening intersection of those two distinct sounds that make Avec's amalgamation that much more worthwhile.

They've got something good here, in the wiles of femininity and the strains of guitar… even if they didn't ask me.

– Sarah Peters, Lost At


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