A sophisticated art-rock appeal is abundant on While We Were Making Plans, the new album from Kansas City-based duo The Splatter Pattern. The team of Bill Ryan and Dave Storms recall a classic-feeling rock sound with dynamic stylistic infusions, hearkening to the likes of Steely Dan, Talking Heads, and Brian Eno.
It’s an apt choice for a band name in this case, as The Splatter Pattern are enjoyably spontaneous and generous in regard to their tonal pursuits throughout the album. Take, for example, the heavy rock nonchalance of “Siblings.” The effort exudes an invigorated guitar-fronted energy — “I sent a message to my brother, and I remembered I don’t have one,” — that resonates in its portrayal of lost communication and strained relationships, urging to keep living on despite the unfortunate erosion.
The preceding track, “The Corner of My Eye,” struts a different feeling entirely — with a sophisti-pop elegance alongside the debonair guitars and trickling keys. Still, the theme is consistent and engrossing, also compelling with its envisioning of losing someone close and its consequential effects. Personal loss and the role of relationships in one’s life plays with sturdy relevance throughout, set against a variety of styles, from the suave art-rock inclinations of “The Corner of My Eye” to the hard-rocking vibe of “Siblings.”
“The Corner of My Eye” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of June 2023’ Spotify playlist.