Chattanooga band Company to Keep likes to keep it simple. Their music is born from the same stripped-down guitar pop influences that caused artists like Frankie Cosmos and The Moldy Peaches to pick up a guitar in the first place. Emotionally bare and melodically rich, their songs explore a sound that can often resist change—there’s certainly a familiarity to the landscape, but the group finds a way to say so much with so little. It’s actually quite mesmerizing to hear the music unfold in such a deceptively simple fashion.
Built around the dual creativities of Stephanie Garcia and Katelyn Hassencahl, the duo harnesses a beautiful austerity, the kind of casual simplicity that makes each second seem to last forever, adrift in its own tiny musical universe. But it’s not just the straightforward approach they have toward the material that makes it feel so effortless and unforced; they’re able to capture a sense of open-ended emotionality and spatial melodicism. There’s enough room within their songs to fill the Grand Canyon, and it’s in that expansive space that they find a true guitar pop aesthetic.
On their new three-track EP, “Lemons,” the band creates a breezy pop-rock groove, unadorned in gaudy ornaments but filled with limitless possibilities. The guitars shimmer in the air, a mix of acoustic and electric sounds that rattle around in your bones for days. Although the majority of their work is acoustic in nature, they don’t forget to add in a bit of electricity to keep things moving along—they also attach some remarkable vocal harmonies to add a bit of muscle where it’s needed.
“We’ll All Climb Into Boxes” and “Grube” are acoustic pop gems, filled with just the subtlest hint of punk swagger. They each begin with a persistent indie rock momentum, accompanied by Hassencahl’s persuasive voice on the first track and Garcia’s on the second. “Cleaning Out the Clutter,” meanwhile, adds some electric guitar to the mix, building a heavier sound that fits perfectly alongside the prior acoustic atmospheres. These songs seem to have come together by accident; such are their spontaneity and capriciousness. This is a testament to Garcia and Hassencahl’s innate camaraderie. With this EP, we’re given just a hint of what’s in store from the band, so they’d do well to know that we’re all anxiously waiting for them to make their next move.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.