Longtime Ball of Wax contributor Seth Howard has at long last taken the plunge and given his band a proper name. The Laughing Group comprises Seth on guitar, voice, and some other stuff; Sam Jansons on drums; and Jeffrey Henry on bass. I’ve been enjoying their work as a live band for years (mostly at Ball of Wax shows), so it’s highly gratifying to have them identify as a proper band with their own releases. There is some dark stuff going on in “Black Dress,” both musically and lyrically. The power-trio-plus-viola arrangement, with beautiful falsetto harmonies from Jeffrey, reminds me of some of my favorite Low songs: heavy, gritty, beautiful and – with lines like “blood doesn’t show on a black dress” and “we can only keep her away from the mirror for so long” – disturbing all at once. Go get their “pay what you want” EP right now, why don’t you?
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