The Upshot: Still taking care of business on its own, the NYC guitar slingers fuse indie rock heaviosity to jazzy, folkish, and even poppy elements for an exploratory – and exhilarating – set.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
In an era where mashups and genre-fucking reign supreme, it’s always nice to hear some good old-fashioned guitar rock. Over thirty years into its career, NYC’s Antietam have more than mastered the art of six-string hooks, straightforward rhythms and no apologies – the trio practically embodies it.
Intimations of Immortality, the band’s tenth album, manages a neat trick – the songs highlight the crunchy guitar rock institution that Antietam has become over the years, while still mixing in new elements that keep the music from sounding nostalgic or hidebound. Horns punch up “Sunshine” and “Automatic,” enhancing the guitar’s attack without getting in its way, while a solo sax insinuates itself into “Sooner or Later.” Free jazz piano rollicks through “Jefferson,” never sounding out of place even as it follows its own freewheeling path. Mandolin shares complimentary space with feedback guitar on “The Fresno Drop,” a tune that starts out folk rock, moves into psychedelic jamming and ends with backporch banjo and fiddle. The horns return on instrumentals “Birdwatching” and the credits roll “And Then,” while a lone harmonica bleats during the rocking “I’m So Tired.” The band divests itself of assistance on the poppy “Right Between the Eyes” (listen to it HERE) as a reminder that Antietam can still take care of business on its own.
Three decades plus in, Antietam knows how to balance staying the course with exploratory side trips.
DOWNLOAD: “I’m So Tired,” “The Fresno Drop,” “Right Between the Eyes”
Go way back to 2011 if you want to check out a BLURT interview with Antietam.