January 18, 2017

EP: First Responder - In My Dreams My Windows Faced West

First Responder shows the signs of a band on the rise with their latest EP.

Columbus, Ohio’s First Responder closed out 2016 with the release of their poetically-titled EP, In My Dreams My Windows Faced West. The album's their first "official" release and builds upon vocalist Sierra Mollenkopf's previously lo-fi, stripped down demos. This time, she fills out the crackling recordings with lush melodies and clear production without losing any of the initial intimate charm. Anchored by Mollenkopf, the rest of the band's instruments swirl, build, and break around her effortlessly breezy voice. Rounded out by Cameron Carr, Zayn Dweik, and Vikas Munjal, First Responder shows all of the signs of a band seriously on the rise.

In My Dreams opens with “Hey Bud,” a song highlighting how tough it is to be away from a loved one. The EP is full of these anxieties and stresses, but they're soothed over by First Responder's gentle touch. “Hey Bud” sees a world being torn apart as, “saying goodnight has never been so hard when you’re the sealant-sealing water towers / now you’re gone and water starts, it's seeping.’” Mollenkopf’s voice remains confident as the world changes without her lover, optimistically noting that “maybe tomorrow there’ll be flowers.” Reverb-filled guitar kicks off “Rental Textbook,” masking the dark lyrics with steadily crashing cymbals and wailing bass. “I’m a rental textbook, and I was due last week,” speaks to the nerves of any young person trying to make their way. You're stuck seeing your peers succeed and wondering if you somehow missed the boat on figuring your shit out. “Heavy Snow” has Mollenkopf’s opera-inspired vocals harmonizing with a recurring male back up. The contrast shows off just how simply beautiful her voice is, and how it exists at the core of their music. An electric guitar line weaves its way through the song, covering and tying together the tinge of cymbals. The much-too-short EP closes with “Tea Leaves,” a searing track that has Mollenkopf’s voice coming in on another plane of existence. It hovers over the heavy drums and shrieking guitar with a steady lightness, stunningly juxtaposing the fuzzy instrumentals. In My Dreams closes with a triumphant bang, fading out as soon as it came in.


Listen to First Responder on bandcamp.

Kat Harding is a music publicist living in Nashville, TN, with her loud kitty cat Goose. She often cries when excited at shows and can be found on twitter at @iwearaviators.