Music » Critics' Picks

Bound Stems

9 p.m. Saturday, November 15. Billiken Club, in the Busch Student Center on the campus of Saint Louis University, 20 North Grand Boulevard.

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Bound Stems constructs songs that rely on the tactful intertwining of texture and melody to cradle the delicate storytelling of frontman Bobby Gallivan. On this year's The Family Afloat, a bouncing, robotic bass line introduces "Passing Bell," before shimmery, reverb-laden strumming, a swinging drum groove and crunchy guitar stabs emerge. These act as a cushion for Gallivan's nostalgic coming-of-age narrative, as it gently glides into a dancey, propulsive chorus. "Clear Water and Concrete," in contrast, illustrates a dreamy and wistful side to the band's sound. Spacious keyboard reverberations, echo-drenched finger snaps and whistles make this song feel like a perfect Sunday afternoon soundtrack. That song calls to mind Broken Social Scene's abstract constructs — with a cozier warmth.

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