Add Evan Rowe to the list of beat-counting double-timers in the Triangle: Rowe--the back-and-center third of Maple Stave--is phenomenal, playing with a reserve and clarity on Stave's debut EP generally not associated with rock modified by math and so young.
For that matter, add Maple Stave to the short list of new math rockers not pulling from a one-trick bag. Sure, the old familiars come into play here: Unrest is an easy comparison, as is Murray Street Sonic Youth. Both the serial persistence steering "Theme" and the frenzied coda of "Bird" recall epic-building post-rockers Mogwai, and Chris William's deadpan-to-frenzied vocals recall mordant Shipping News and Fin Fang Foom. But Maple Stave manages to match fever-pitch instrumentals with caustic denunciations with slow-building manifestos, smartly keeping them all under seven minutes and more about the movement's progress than the musicians' pride.
"Bird"--the most compelling track here--fluctuates with a soundtrack temper, rattling open with a steady snare line, eventually falling into Explosions in the Sky recalcitrance, everything falling out save a lone guitar chiming through a delay circuit. In that pause, it's possible to hear Rowe anxiously shifting on his throne, waiting with the band as the song resurrects itself. Andrew Hull's bass juts out first this time, guiding the band into another pause just before Williams chimes in, playing the forlorn and uncertain persona rendered by experience. The cycle repeats before impact, which comes as a fuzzed scabbard of guitar vitriol, backed by Rowe's powerful rolls through the kit.
Never mind a botched note here or there: A labor of love co-written with Rob Gaddy, printed in a hand-numbered, limited-edition run of 51 by Praxis and recorded in part (with taxpayer money, I can only hope) at the North Carolina School of Science and Math (they're not students), EP One is a long-overdue debut from an able trio already delivering on potential.