Typefighter, the four-piece D.C. band/regular frequenters of the local house show scene are at first listen a typical pop-rock group, full of catchy hooks and introspective, if not slightly vain lyrics. Their songs, however, contain a refreshing familiarity, and give The End of Everything a crisp and immediate feel, casting the band as a stand out in a genre that tends to foster sameness more than experimentation.
The evolution of Typefighter’s sound has been a gradual process, slowly building over two EPs and now, their first full length. Their second release, fall winter fall (2011), merged their early folk sound with louder, more commanding songwriting, signaling a shift that’s fully heard throughout the band’s new LP.
On The End of Everything, Typefighter highlights the same clever word play and emotional punch of their early work while turning up the volume, and busting out a few kick-ass solos along the way. After slowly building a fan base over the past five years (and gaining a significant amount of local buzz in the process), the stakes were higher for the band this time around, and throughout its 11 songs and 36 minutes, is the sound of the band rising to that challenge.
Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Ryan McLaughlin, guitarist Thomas Orgren, bassist John Scoops and drummer Will Waikart, each band member’s contributions can be fully felt on the album. Scoops’ presence is particularly strong, his bass lines guiding the band through their evolving sound. Likewise, guitarist McLaughlin (also of DC band Joy Buttons), who lost two friends during its production, infuses twith a palpable sense of grief and self-doubt while leaving room for redemptive lyrics and instrumentation. “Well I’ve been wrong before about things but now it’s irrelevant/…I’m finding out where I’m going,” he sings on “1991”, creating an atmosphere of tenderness and grandeur.
Opening with the commanding “Nancy Sinatra”, Typefighter dives into the irresistibly poppy first side of the album, culminating in the single “Much”, a confident rocker that, more than any other track on the album showcases each band member’s contribution to Typefighter’s sound in equal measure. From there, the pacing of the record switches back and forth between slower melodic tunes and urgent anthems, with tracks “Split Intent”, “Bad Cop”, and “Know It’s Over”, loudly displaying the band’s growing preference for guitar distortion.
The track “Sides”, with its energetic jammed out coda is the crown jewel of The End of Everything. Like most of its predecessors, it’s not exactly upbeat – but at this point do we even want it to be? Typefighter already has our attention, and our sympathies. The album closes with “Dock The Boats”, a gorgeous return to the band’s folkier roots and a fitting capstone to the band’s best release to date.