With this being a split single who's artwork is one side of this record all dayglo colors & band members with making slightly goofy faces and the others all grays, blacks and a seriously looking guy in a ruffly shirt, long black hair and holding on to a dog I wondered if I was in store from some tribute of some 80's new wave factions. Y'know like one side might sound something like JoBoxers and the other a Fields Of Nephilim thing.
The Passionistas are the band with the dayglo artwork. Makes sense as the first two songs on their side "Writers Block" and "Ashley Simpson" are snappy and bubblegumish but somewhat off centered. They don't worry if they go outta key either. As a matter of fact they prefer it. The last track on their side "France" it's like Burt Bacharach knocking back a medicinal cocktail while listening to a Black Lips record.
Hard Place (the "serious" looking side) actually aren't all that dark. They have a Sparks whimsy to 'em. The thing is though it's like when working in a record store (at least in the early 90's) and you get into a conversation with an older customer and find out he's a Sparks fan. He says to you "Oh, if you like Sparks I'll make you a mix tape of some other groups you should check out." A week or so later a tape gets handed to you and there's all this sub prog stuff on it loaded with a lot of way to clever & technical keyboard flourishs on almost every song which makes it all just to hard to get into. That happens on both of the songs that Hard Place offer up here.