The Weekly Jive

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Posted May 14, 2009 in Music

THE POISON ARROWS

First Class, And Forever

(File Thirteen)

 

Featuring ex-members of Atombombpocketknife and Don Caballero, this Chicago band can sound just like you’d imagine a post-everything power trio should: viscous bass lines and guitar fragments intricately woven together and powered by thunder percussion over Slint-ian landscapes of shape-shifting time sigs. Not unlike their pedigrees, in other words, but tilting more melodic since Atombomb’s Justin Sinkovich writes and sings—like an American version of the Stone Roses’ Ian Brown at times—here as well. But what elevates their full-length debut are the spacey (as in practically Spiritualized spacey) synth interludes and melodies that act like bellows, allowing the songs to breathe in and gather momentum between well-paced bouts of 21st Century aggro. “Twenty Percent Brighter,” an ironic title given the song’s foreboding cast, is a pulsing creeper where processed guitars coat the horizon in ghostly echoes, while the drums-and-bass tumult of “Casual Wave” is leavened with high-pitched keys until it crescendos and disintegrates into programmed glitch. Album highlight “An Unexploded Dream” weaves sinuous guitar lines and synth alchemy between the drum kit’s shuffling gait, Sinkovich’s whisper narrating a surrealist’s six-minute reverie. No wonder studio wizards like Suicide’s Martin Rev and Califone’s Brian Deck remixed some of the band’s earlier work on 2006’s download-only Premix—the same spacious, cinematic qualities that drew them to that also define this promising debut.


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