Us And Us Only - Full Flower (Topshelf Records) 2017
After seven years of releasing singles and EPs, Baltimore alt-rockers Us & Us Only finally bring forth their debut album. Taking advantage of that full-length record to weave a larger tapestry of their sound, the band don’t cut to the chase with the alt-rock power like in their earlier works, and show more patience cultivating their sonic ambience. Using gentler melodic elements like piano, violin, and acoustic guitar to accompany frontman Kinsey Matthews’ tranquil vocals in songs like “Shame,” “Veiled/Forming,” “way2loud,” and “Winter Sails,” the album harnesses more of a dream pop vibe altogether.
As timid as its first impressions may be, Us & Us Only know how to keep this quaint sound from being a snooze. Lower tempos don’t restrict the rhythm section from forming some good grooves (especially with some smartly syncopated drumbeats), and the soft soundscapes make way for the dual guitars to play with more intertwining particularity, heard in “Bored Of Black,” “My Mouth,” and “Lawn.” And though the band seldom kicks into the stronger guitar distortion, those few moments of loudness are all the more resonant, whether in the grungy chorus of the eponymous song, or the penultimate post-rock cut of “Dresses.”