Sound Impression: Branches by Square Peg Round Hole

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Square Peg Round Hole is a percussion-driven instrumental trio based out of Philadelphia, PA. Members Evan Chapman, Sean M. Gill, and Carlos Pacheco-Perez all met while studying at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and formed the project around the inventive use of drum kits, vibraphone, samples, found objects, synths, and vintage analog keyboards to develop a style that draws on elements from post-rock, electronic, ambient, and contemporary classical motifs. Coming off their exhilarating self-released album Corners in 2013, it was the band’s second record, Juniper (2016, Spartan Records) that garnered them some national attention. Composed in rural Maryland and remote Wisconsin, the album unveiled a more abstract, introspective approach but still retained some of the directness and vibrancy of the debut as it was recorded almost entirely in full live takes.

Since then, SPRH has continued to evolve & expand artistically and serve up a more “collaborative and outward-looking” effort with their third LP entitled Branches which was recorded in Nashville with producer and drumming legend Darren King while living King’s attic and immersing themselves in his studio as well as working with members of Variant 6 and pop-duo Gracie & Rachel on vocals. The bold dynamism of their previous albums remains very much in play – SPRH is still built around percussion first & foremost – but Branches also turns out to be a quite nuanced affair with great attention paid to layering of sounds and weaving in beautiful atmospheric interludes with the more energetic passages. Sophisticated rhythmic chops and clever ideas abound, but always in the service of a well thought out compositional framework and a narrative sense that points unerringly true north in this exceptional effort by a band that just keeps getting better.

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Links: Bandcamp (LP/DL) | Square Peg Round Hole

Branches is now available from National Sawdust Tracks in two striking vinyl editions (coke bottle green and clear with white splatter) as well as digital download & streaming. The artwork by Richard Vergez is featured in an album design & layout by band member Carlos Pacheco-Perez.


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