BY MICHAEL TOLAND
E, the trio formed by singer/guitarists Thalia Zedek (Come, Live Skull) and Jason Sanford (Neptune) and drummer Gavin McCarthy (Karate), should be the toast of the alternative rock world. On Negative Work, the trio’s second LP, these veteran noise rockers come together to create something truly special. Zedek and Sanford treat their axes with a balance of irreverence and awe, sometimes intertwining lines like snakes in a nest, but just as often crashing them against each other like the antlers of fighting stags. McCarthy drives the noise forward relentlessly, occasionally pausing to set a foundation for more meditative, less frenzied fare. Zedek and Sanford mutter, seethe and howl over the controlled chaos. Out of the storm melodies emerge, catchy in their own way, but avoiding any semblance of clichéd indie rock turgidity. Elements of Television, Sonic Youth, Jawbox, the Touch & Go catalog and, of course, the participants’ previous bands float to the top, but never feel like theft – instead the work of peers and predecessors inspires E to make its own variation on classic noisecraft. “Poison Letter,” “Untie Me,” “A House Inside” and “Down She Goes” almost shatter trying to keep the balance of off-kilter tuneage, winding riffology and thrumming energy that drive them. In a time when rock music seems more stultifying every passing hour, E’s Negative Work stands like a glorious beacon in a barren field.
DOWNLOAD: “Poison Letter,” “A House Inside,” “Down She Goes”