This very early Braid record sounds chaotic and nearly hardcore. The production leaves it a bit thin and a line like "Please don't go" is too obtuse for this jaded old man. The ragged vocals sounds like East Bay pseudo-emo punks Monsula, though the rest of the band is clearly in the early emo (Rites of Spring early) vein. They haven't developed their twinkly and catchy melodic work yet, so when it happens it's a bit clunky. At the end of the first track, Sounds Like Violence, the guitars get lost and it's almost like yelling and drums only.
They really get into the hardcore influence on Motion Light. Lots of chugging guitars and a darker sound than Braid fans will recognize. It breaks into a Suicidal Tendencies How Will I Laugh Tomorrow-esque bridge before a short pause and more hardcore chugging. Thankfully, they build from the hardcore into a huge vocal chorus to round out the song.
Continuing the California comparisons, Perfect Pitch continues the themes of relatively simple, repetitive melodies that ride over a driving beat that remains pretty constant through the track. You can hear Jawbreaker in this one, particularly at the end during a chaos like Bivouac. It's tougher to avoid that comparison given that the yelled refrain of "paramount" has the same rhythm and number of syllables as the yelled "Bivouac" to start the chaos.
This is an interesting offering in the Polyvinyl catalog. Looking through their available discography, they were quite a slow moving label at first. This is their fourth release, and it was definitely out of my radar while I was at college a couple thousand miles away from Chicago. I only learned about Polyvinyl years later by getting into Rainer Maria, American Football, Mates of State, etc. This early release is quite different from much of the later material. I wish I had heard it earlier.
A. Sounds Like Violence
B1. Motion Light
B2. Perfect Pitch