You’ll be thrilled to learn (as I was), that there are still kids who get together as friends and make music because they love it. And they’re doing it right under your nose. In the spirit of homegrown projects like Brand New and Taking Back Sunday, In Development (from Merrick) is crafting raw, yet nuanced garage rock with flecks of ska, punk and the big arena pop-rock of the moment as championed by bands like Panic! At the Disco, The National, and Fall Out Boy. All run through an original filter of ever so slightly bent craftwork and execution that is both innocent and sophisticated – true “new” punk.
With no deep past and no grand plan, In development is simply in the moment, trying to be nothing but sincere. Their myriad influences are run through a filter of genuine creativity in which strange and blissfully painful lead guitar riffs somehow work with their rough edges and disregard for the bar line. Counter melodies and textures from the horns create a depth of tapestry that blends the punk edge of Fugazi with the soaring heartache of 80’s art concepts like New Order and Depeche Mode.
Take the proto-indie thrash of “Grind”: It’s straight ahead third generation punk with jangly guitars that snag the best Dinosaur Jr. has to offer, then layered with an impossibly infectious, heartfelt hook/chorus. If you can picture honest kids with big hearts trying their shit out on their friends – who might actually care – you’ve got In development in your mind’s eye.
“Terms” pushes a harder edge. This second demo (which could/should be the first) features a growling punk vocal rap aesthetic that channels Lou Reed’s street poetry and stuffs it in a bulging sonic envelope drenched with midrange guitar rhythms and wrapped in a far out, lo fi mix that sounds like it came off the soundboard at CBGB’s.
The message we get from In Development is just that – everything is in a state of development. The band is just tight enough to pack a punch, but just loose enough to shake free of exact definition – an exciting razor’s edge for a young band. In all, the project is an honest collective hue; the demos on sound cloud project exactly as they should, as shit hot snapshots of a moment. In those hook-drenched seeds, you can hear the full flower morphing – ready to blossom and explode.
In Development is a willing experiment undertaken with a particular concoction of naiveté , genuine chops and youthful fearlessness. It’s personalities in a room. The less it tries the more juice it has. You can hear the courage and the humor. Above all, you can hear the musical stew; skanky guitars, staccato steady drums, the fog cutting sax and a penchant for college rock hooks in the songwriting that recall the low-end of the FM dial.
In Development is one of those projects that might serve as buried treasure to the ear candy pirates of the underground-a dirty diamond that begs to remain ever so slightly unpolished. They’re a bunch of kids doing good and trying to get better. What else is there?