After the release of Carrboro-based Sorry About Dresden's first full-length, The Mayor Will Abdicate, most critics pigeonholed them as emo or post-punk. (At least one local writer cited them as the heir apparent to the Archers of Loaf.) Any such attempt at clichéd categorization fell apart with their recent EP, How the Cold War Began, which added some slower acoustic songs to the mix, showcasing a more assured sound for the band. With The Convenience of Indecision, SAD has matured in all the best ways--experimenting successfully with new styles while maintaining the urgency and gut-driven sound that's always given them their edge.The first three songs are good examples. "A Losing Season" opens with the guitars countering and playing off one another, building to a fully realized but restrained climax. The second track, "On Contradiction," is a well-crafted pop song reminiscent of early Soul Asylum. "One Version of Events" follows with a full-fledged punk assault, its refrain of "I'll never go back to sleep tonight" giving way to a plea for respite. This trend continues throughout--the mellow harmonies and unobtrusive banjo of "It's Morning Again in America" balanced by the anthemic outro on "Carthage Must Be Destroyed" leading seamlessly into the bass-driven rock of "It's Not Early Anymore." A couple of songs, like "Faulty Math, Tired Horses" and "A Reunion of Sorts," even lend themselves to a melancholic country vibe.
Expansion aside, this is still guitar-driven rock throughout, and the consistent quality of the songwriting is what makes its components blend so well. A disc with songs this varied doesn't keep such a thematic integrity by accident; it shows genuine commitment. These guys should be considered among the area's strongest outfits and, judging by the creative bent they're pursuing, they've yet to reach their peak.