Globes – Future Self

January 01, 1970

(Barsuk)

 

www.barsuk.com

 

The Globes transform complexity into something accessible on
this impressive debut. Here intricate rhythms jitter under chilled otherworldly
vocals, translucent guitar textures blossom unexpectedly into off-kilter
flourishes of proggy dexterity. Melodic pop lines may shoulder softly into
view, but only to be shredded into prismatic, asymmetrical bits. If the best
comparison is Radiohead that is partly because both bands are so unpredictable,
so ready to fracture time signatures and break chord structures, so that the
line you hear is subtly, intriguingly different from what you expect to hear.

 

The Globes came together in Spokane, Washington
with the aim to use traditional rock instruments in unusual ways. Since the
beginning the band has had a fairly conventional line-up, Kyle Musselwhite and
Erik Walters on guitar, Sean McCotter on bass and Marcus Ourada on drums. (Musselwhite
sings as well.)  Yet also since the
beginning, they have worked on breaking the confines of two-guitar-bass-drums
expectations with intricate rhythms, sudden dynamic shifts and an approach that
marries the romantic yearnings of guitar pop with a chilly postmodernist
detachment. Future Self follows two EPs, the second of which, Sinter
Songs
, caused a fair amount of excitement among northwestern indie fans.

 

It’s not hard to see why, based on Future Self, a
disc that is smoothly self-assured as it balances on a tightrope. Musselwhite’s
eerie floating vocals display not a whisper of uncertainty as they glide over
shrapnel-pocked, sharp-edged difficulties. The opening cut, “Haunted by Bears”
is coolly, unruffledly gorgeous, building into outsized drama over drum rolls
and guitar flourishes. “Stay Awake” posits a nervous cacophony of clock-ticking
percussion, a clipped mania of eighth note guitars, a machine-age,
sleep-deprived paranoia which is eased, soothed and humanized by the vocals. “I
want nothing here/I want nothing more…from you,” Walters sings with a big flourish
on the “you.” The song blossoms with sustained romantic yearning, finding color
where all had been clamped down and affectless before.

 

The Globes put their best pop moves up front, but then,
towards the end of the album, allow their most irregular, post-rocking
tendencies to shine through. “Ghost”‘s jittery guitar riff could have been
pulled off a latter-day Tortoise album. Its abrasive mid-cut rhythmic interval
makes no compromises with pop.  “Japan,”
following just after, stutters to life in a dialogue between cowbell and snare.
The guitars build up underneath in an indeterminant wash, and the vocals, when
they come, are monochrome, a chant on mostly one note. Yet the plain-ness of
the vocals, sets off shifting, shimmering beaded curtains of guitar. There is
an abstraction here, a certain intellectual chill, but also sheer lyrical
gorgeousness.

 

The Globes are still forming their sound, still feeling out
the relationship between melody and experiment, still deciding how much to give
freely to listeners and how much to make them work for. Hard to say what shape
this band’s Future Self will take, ultimately, but definitely worth
keeping an eye on the process.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Stay
Awake,” “Haunted by Bears” “Japan”
JENNIFER KELLY

 

 

 

 

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