The Pale Pacific
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The Pale Pacific

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The best kept secret in music



Rules Are Predictable is a surprisingly strong offering from Bellingham, WA outfit the Pale Pacific (formerly the Pale). It's gentle indie pop that packs a lot of diversity into its short span that's emotional without acting overbearing, and a tad arty while leaving all pretension behind.

The EP suffocates in the melancholic air that surrounds their mellow indie pop -- in a really good way -- that, while certainly carries similarities to Death Cab For Cutie, isn't ever quite a full-on rip-off. Sure, closer "All My Friends" contains an introducing vibe fairly reminiscent of "Information Travels Faster," but lead vocalist Gabe Archer has a soft, comforting, genuine voice that's closer to Matt Pryor than anything. Though in compositions several decades (seemingly) shorter (mostly), there's a similar feel on Rules Are Predictable to the This Is Not What You Had Planned EP from Respira; that is, a more traditionally emo-influenced, clinically depressed sound.

"Sucker Punch" opens things up, and will likely have you singing along with the hushed, whispered chorus. Its immediate follower, "In The Sun Pt. 1" is a more upbeat, dancey track that somehow works well with its awkward vibe and restrained, angry tone, with the command of "Play the part, play the part / better than the original," teeth seemingly grit in the latter line. Closer "All My Friends" continues the impressively consistent mood of the disc with the dynamics in the chorus kicked up a subtle notch.

The Pale Pacific's newest album is both pleasant and promising, leaving you wanting more as any good record should. It isn't the most original thing ever, but it's executed nicely, well-written, and definitely hints at greater things coming. -


Since early 2004, Gabe Archer, Justin Harcus, Cameron Nicklaus, and Greg Swinehart have dealt with a lot. First off, Side Cho picked up the band, then known as simply The Pale, and re-released the mature pop record Gravity Gets Things Done. The guys traveled and toured and began writing new songs towards the end of last year. During this process, they were forced to change their name and ended up choosing the title The Pale Pacific. Now, instead of waiting around to release their next full-length (scheduled to be titled Urgency), the band decided to give their fans a taste of what they've been writing with the four-track EP titled Rules Are Predictable.

The four songs here all go by rather quickly as the total amount of music rounds up to just about fifteen minutes. It is hard to pick out one that truly stands out above the rest; however, the closest comes in "Identity Theft". This is an upbeat track that is driven by drum and bass as well as some soothing singing from the band's vocalist. The vocalist has always been one of the strong points for this band as his voice is almost always in tune and that is surely evident on this EP. "In The Sun Part 1" also has an upbeat vibe while the other two tracks, "Sucker Punch" and "All My Friends", are mellower. The first of the two is driven by drums and piano which gives it a lush sound. This sound is often compared to Death Cab For Cutie which is definitely a valid point as even Chris Walla from DCFC mixed a few tracks (and they are from the same area - Seattle). The other track, "All My Friends", is a bit more mellow than the previous one as the band uses light string effects and very melodic piano notes. However, the chorus is a bit more upbeat as the vocalist sings the lines "oh oh, don't worry, there's no big hurry/ get your glasses so its not so blurry/ we'll tell you when we go, so you're in the know now" in a very relaxing tone.

While Rules Are Predictable is a short effort, it does show that the guys in The Pale Pacific are getting better with every effort. "Identity Theft" is a very strong track but the rest of the EP lacks a certain standout song. However, fans of past releases by these guys might find something to like in this EP. If you are new to the band though, I'd recommend picking up Gravity Gets Things Done first as you'll get more out of the purchase. That said, this is still a good, although short, effort that hints at what The Pale Pacific can do in the future.

Standout Tracks:
"Identity Theft" -


"Gravity Gets Things Done" (LP 2004 Sidecho Records)
"Rules Are Predictable" (EP 2005 Sidecho Records)
"Urgency" (LP to be Released 2005 Sidecho Records)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Orcas Island - just off the coast of Seattle. Holed up in a rented house during the fall of 2004,
The Pale Pacific focused on recording an entirely new set of material to an analog 8-track tape machine and had the ability to do so without outside distractions — no mail, no cell phone reception and no Internet connection. During their three-week stay, they managed to record 15 songs, some of which ended up on the Rules Are Predictable EP. The rest of the session’s cuts were sequenced and placed on the band’s fourth full-length, Urgency. The resulting recordings are raw, uninhibited and offer The Pale Pacific at their most intimate. The band left environmental sounds in — cars driving by, airplanes flying overhead, a dryer or washer that’s left on — which makes the recordings of Urgency that much more honest, at least on a sonic level.
With Urgency’s tracking finalized, The Pale Pacific enlisted Death Cab For Cutie’s
Chris Walla to mix selected tracks for the album. And if the artwork appears familiar, that’s because The Pale Pacific’s latest features the creative visuals of Grammy award nominated artist Jesse LeDoux (whose work includes album covers for Elliott Smith, Hot Hot Heat and The Shins).