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Frisco, Texas, United States | SELF

Frisco, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock




"Caterpillars EP - Taking Over"

Atmospheric, incredibly melodic, and tightly-woven. That is my best attempt at describing this EP from the guys in Caterpillars, which would fall somewhere between Starflyer 59 and Copeland, with too many other elements and influences to begin to try to name, although I image Radiohead would be somewhere on that list too. It’s the sort of electronically-enhanced indie-rock that could seep its way onto many lists of “talented unsigned artists.” The textured vocals are top-notch, catching just the right vibe to glide over the lush guitars and drums, gentle as dove’s feathers yet thick as table syrup. While the individual songs may not stand out from each other too much, that may work to help the nature of the music maintain its hazy, dreamy quality. If this is just the beginning, fans of this sort of thing will definitely want to keeps their eyes open for for this Caterpillar to break out of its cocoon to become something even more majestic and beautiful. -

"Caterpillars EP - Dallas Observer"

For a debut EP, Caterpillars' five-song set of electronic-tinged pop rock is remarkably polished and consistent—to a fault. Still, the Dallas band's lush arrangements of dramatically soaring pop are impressively full, particularly for a trio and such a new band. Singer/guitarist/programmer Chris Robinson (no, not that Chris Robinson) clearly knows how to craft a mall-worthy indie-pop song; his voice sails and echoes above a bed of reverb-drenched guitars, chirping samples and electronic beats.

But the band reaches for grandeur on every song, a tendency that's particularly evident in moments such as when the distorted digital beats and hazy, ambient samples give way to pounding live drums in songs like "Bury Your Words" and "I've Been Lost." Bassist Jason Huff and drummer John Benitez prove a worthy rhythm section for Robinson's sophisticated compositions, though their efforts are usually all but buried in the vocal-heavy mix.

Basically, the songs could use a lot more grit. If the band's performances had any rough edges to begin with, Ed Rose's pristine production has smoothed them away. This EP is clearly the product of talented players, but doesn't do much to distinguish the band from the glut of Postal Service-loving area electronic/emo acts like PlayRadioPlay. -

"Caterpillars EP - Absolute Punk"

Amazement is a rarity around here. I could discuss some hyperbolic story about the last time I felt it - 1994 and glue that smelled like Froot Loops was involved - but I won’t. I’m not sure what it is about my wiring that disallows me this simple joy. Actually, to be honest, I blame porn. For your sake I won’t get into the why’s of it. Covering my bases with such stupid words is just a defense mechanism in case this happy sentiment is rushed and completely forced. Is 6 days really enough time to call Caterpillars amazing? Aren’t these pure emotions supposed to be instantaneous; i.e. “you just know”? I reckon Edison knew he had done something awesome immediately, but for some reason I feel like Einstein possessed a lot of self-doubt. Einstein and me, we’re not so different. Oh right, music.

Caterpillars are fantastic, and that’s the most effective way to put it. (No it’s not. - Editor) For such a young band, their polished melodies and light atmospheres sound miraculous. I almost suspect wrongdoing, but I won’t investigate for fear of bursting my own bubble. The five songs on this self-titled EP run the gamut from gorgeous to pulsing to dramatic to dazzling. Caterpillars use synths extremely effectively, so each electronic note adds to the experience rather than detracts from it. “Bury Your Words”, for example, burgeons to impressive depths with slight beeps and tricky drums. It’s full-bodied and intense while still being easy on the ears for those nights you need to relax. In this case relaxation does not imply boredom.

Vocally, the band sits somewhere in between Colonies and The Postal Service, so expect wonders. The singing could have easily been polished to the point of annoyance, but instead there is just a smidge of grime and humanness left in. This insistence on keeping the focus on living and feeling rather than technology and wiring can be directly attributed to producer Ed Rose, who’s about as famous as a producer can be, which is to say not very! (Just kidding, Mr. Rose.)

“I’ve Been Lost” might have landed on my top songs of 2008 list had I not heard it last week. An electronic drumbeat punctuates vocals dripping in echoes and effects. Lyrics like “I have seen this part of the world far too many times / And I’ve been lost for far too long” reek of a desire for bigger and better. This is a band feening for respect, grasping for fame and hoping to make a dream come true. The best part is that Caterpillars can actually reach its goals.

No wait, maybe “A Place To Call My Own” would make the list. Its eruption into rugged guitar riffing and bigger-than-Yao drums is one of those moments you hope never ends. And it’s all in direct opposition to the rather breezy vocals. Everything you could want out of a song is here, and by that I mean the strategy and subsequent construction behind these songs is so thoughtfully crafted that you’ll wonder why anyone would write songs that don’t sound like this. Amazing. -

"Caterpillars EP - Punk News"

Caterpillars' debut EP specializes in dreamy electronic-tinged indie rock. There is not much to shock about their smooth sound, but that’s not the point. What does shock is how they seemingly were birthed fully formed. The three-piece formed around May, played their first show in July and their fourth show was about a week ago at the House of Blues in Dallas for this EP’s release -- a pretty quick ascent I would say. And they sure did their first release right -- with the help of producer Ed Rose (the Get Up Kids, Motion City Soundtrack), their rookie release plays like it’s the work of seasoned veterans.

Turns out there was a development period for the group, but the key to their inception is one that is becoming more and more common in the our Internet-dominated music world: Craigslist. Dallas-area resident Chris Robinson had demoed out what he intended to be a solo project with his guitar and vocals fleshed out with programmed beats and synths. Before taking the songs to a real studio he reconsidered and placed an ad, lucking out with the solid additions of Jason Huff on bass and John Benitez on drums. Robinson’s electronics survived the merge as synths swell and bleep frequently in the mix, and skittish drum loops mesh well with Benitez’s grooves. Huff’s bass adds its own melodic elements and helps with said groove.

Fans of Death Cab and the Postal Service will instantly discover many things to love about Caterpillars, though they land somewhere sonically in between. Robinson’s clean unaffected vocal tone and tendency towards his higher registers recalls Ben Gibbard, and the well-worn emotive indie progressions will make many feel right at home. “Bury Your Words” finds Robinson pitch-perfect on a memorable melody, floating above mellow `80s synths which shift to blips and buzzes as the tune kicks into gear. The song changes frequently, rocking the hardest of the set but taking frequent breaks and then revving back up. “I’ve Been Lost” is another keeper, but is another constantly shifting piece and probably could have benefited from more development of each section. “A Place to Call My Own” boasts a nice Built to Spill-style vocal line and runs a huge dynamic range, but I wish the harder moments would last longer; the trio tends to dwell in their mellow wheelhouse. The electronics have me feeling a bit of Mercury Rev’s less weird work, and the group also share common elements with release show stage-mates Umbrellas.

“Lifetime in the Pretense” has its moments and some sweet reverb-y guitar lines, but doesn’t hit its stride like the other tracks with its loudest moments driving the least. Also, overall the disc is a bit same-y, but works on the EP level. The group should be looking to stretch their boundaries come full-length time.

Safe territory, sure, but Caterpillars go about things with such conviction that I’m swayed over. With the bar set this high on the debut, it will be interesting to see where they take things from here, especially with the full trio on board from the songwriting ground floor.


"Caterpillars EP - DFW Quick"

Dallas band Caterpillars (above) has only been around for a few months, but it's already got an EP full of ethereal, Death-Cab-worthy pop rock. See if you dig it as much as I do by listening to a couple of tracks at The band opens for Airline tonight at Prophet Bar, and that EP should be coming soon.

I found out later that the guys in the band only just met each other in May. They worked fast, probably because they had similar ideas about what how they wanted the band to sound. Says drummer John Benitez in an e-mail, "We enjoy bands that have a lot of depth and texture in their music and we try to follow that mindset. We want the listeners to uncover something new every time they listen, whether it's a new sound, harmony, melody." -


Caterpillars Self-Titled EP



Despite being surrounded by big city fashion and memories of a once great metal scene, indie rockers Caterpillars formed in 2008 with a desire to create something new. With a freshman release recorded with legendary producer Ed Rose (The Appleseed Cast, Get Up Kids, Motion City Soundtrack, Emery) Caterpillars created a chilling, yet powerful blend of electronic and organic instrumentation, showing the bourgeoning music scene in Dallas, TX that this band was here to stay. Forming around the complex guitar work and soothing vocals of Christopher Robinson, Caterpillars has once again entered the studio hard at work writing and creating for their upcoming full length “Willows Around the Bend.” With the addition of Stephen O’Sicky(ex The Constellation Branch) on drums, Ben Love(ex Clairmont) on bass, and Drew Black on guitar, Caterpillars is once again poised to make a mark in the indie rock world.

Band Members