Many bands boast of their “unclassifiable”-ness, but few put their money where their mouth is like Milwaukee’s Large Print. On the band’s two 2022 EPs—In The Clouds and In The Dark—dreamy shoegaze indie tracks give way to Velvet Underground-esque droners, which in turn give way to caffeinated electro bangers. It’s all highlighted by the terrific vocals of Grace Mitchell and the tightly wound chemistry of the rest of the band (James Brickner, Andy Grygiel, Jay Joslyn, Eric Risser). Large Print songs rarely last much longer than two minutes, but they never fail to leave an impression.
First, In The Clouds. Opener “Afterthought” is a jittery rocker with echoes of Sonic Youth, while “Blueprint” channels the droll and shamble-y Pavement. Not that Large Print has to be compared to influential ’90s groups: songs like the dreamy “Cast” and “Mist” are wholly original and painstakingly crafted, each offering bite-sized glimpses of the band’s talents and Mitchell’s way with words. “Papercut on the surface / Blood lines stay blue / Cell out of service / Nothing coming through,” she sings on closer “Papercut.” All told, In The Clouds is the lighter, more languid of the two EPs, an aptly titled seven-song exploration of Large Print’s influences and ingenuity.
Now, In The Dark. Like In The Clouds, the second EP clocks in around 15 minutes and contains plenty of genre hopping. Opener “Blonde Ambition” features bursts of discordant guitars and lyrics about “sitting in the back row watching dirty movies.” The fantastic “Dried Fruit” may be Large Print’s best song yet, a haunting and autumnal meditation on “deck[ing] the halls with cobwebs and moth balls.” Meanwhile, “Split” and “Snow” fall squarely in the “drone-y Velvet Underground” camp, though the former tweaks the formula with subtle electronic flourishes. Speaking of electronic flourishes, the delightful “Thin Mint” plays like a lo-fi, up-tempo keyboard demo, and contains one of Mitchell’s funniest lines: “To this day I never figured out / How to be a just alright Girl Scout.”
Holding In The Clouds and In The Dark together is a staunch devotion to all things analog. Both EPs were recorded and mixed by the band; two sprawling collections of demos—Winter/Spring 2020 and Summer/Fall 2020—further demonstrate that devotion. But don’t mistake a DIY vibe for a lack of ambition: Large Print’s means may be modest, but its music reaches the sky.
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