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 Missing You Dearly
Artist: Two-Thirty Eight
Label: Takehold Records
Length: 11 tracks / 57:59 minutes

Chase What Makes Your Heart Flutter (Sample)

One of Takehold Records' flagship bands and supposedly capable of delivering a punch of a live show, Two-Thirty Eight rocks out the power pop/emo/indie rock way. Think Plankeye as an emo band. Quiet/loud dynamics, building crescendoes, melodies, driving rhythms, and sections of stripped-back bass, drums, and single string guitar picking. The vocals are typical for the genre--passionate, on the higher end of the scale, sometimes soft, sometimes crying in anguish.

The lyrics are atypical for the genre, though, actually being pretty clear and easily understood. They stick to first person ruminations on relationships with others and with God. A definite thread of sorrow for and disappointment over females winds through the album. "Things Mistaken" repeatedly mourns "and she gave herself away" until you really feel sad for the girl. "Chase What Makes Your Heart Flutter" deals with exactly what it sounds like: getting over an emotion-driven girl who can't commit. "My Friend Pedro" wistfully proclaims "Seasons change just like people do/Always thought we'd face the seasons without them changing you."

The sadness over females is balanced by a craving for the love of God, even though it too hurts. "Stripped of All" goes "though my life is torn apart/I feel you in my heart/so many times I fail to see/no one can take this love from me."  "Subtle Sacrifice" recognizes "The potter's hand although refreshing/is a painful place to be."

There's enough variety and energy here to avoid pidgeon-holing, but something extra is needed to push Two-Thirty Eight's talent into the extra-special. There's an anonymous delayed track at the end that sounds like a cover and rocks harder than the rest of the album, with its more lo-fi production and thicker guitar tones. Missing You Dearly is the band's debut from '98, so perhaps their follow-up this year is more satisfying. Still, this should appeal to fans of The Juliana Theory, recent Plankeye, and the like.

Josh Spencer         12/17/99

Available From Cross Rhythms Music

Josh Spencer, contributing senior associate editor for The Phantom Tollbooth for over two years, is also publisher and editor-in-chief of spiritual pop culture webzine Stranger Things.  Reviews and articles by him are usually simultaneously published in some form at http://www.strangerthingsmag.com.
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