The Upshot: Jazzy atmospherics and hard rock pound from a new power trio boasting familiar faces.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
It’s always comforting to know that certain stylistic bents of rock never go out of style. That’s usually because someone puts a new spin on an old formula. That’s arguably the case with E, the self-titled debut album from Neptune’s Jason Sanford, Karate’s Gavin McCarthy, and indie rock legend Thalia Zedek (Come, Live Skull, solo). Burning with the rock energy of the classic power trio, Zedek, Sanford and McCarthy apply it to song structures influenced equally by fractured postpunk and dissonant post-rock, shying away from neither melody nor good old-fashioned noise.
Zedek and Sanford wrap around each other, their six-strings interlocking into lattices that emphasize riffs and fills without putting spotlights on solos – cf. the instrumentals “Fissure” and “Treeline.” The two also alternate vocals, often within the same song – Zedek’s whiskey ‘n’ cigs rasp contrasts sharply with Sanford’s Gothic croon. Angular, discordant rants like “Silo” and “I Want to Feel Good” scratch the itch for loud guitar licks and forthright drumming, but create new ones by refusing to use resolving chord progressions or anything remotely resembling vocal harmony. As apt to use jazzy atmospherics as hard rock pound, McCarthy gets his turn at the mic as well, via the punky “Candidate.” Sometimes the band just blasts away – the flaming “Great Light” revels in the sound of three people rocking out. But mostly E concerns itself with twisting power trio rawk into new, interesting shapes.
DOWNLOAD: “I Want to Feel Good,” “Great Light,” “Fissure”