Past Lives – Tapestry of Webs

January 01, 1970

(Suicide Squeeze)

The members of Seattle’s
Past Lives may have all done time in the screamy, neo-punk-rock Blood Brothers,
but you wouldn’t necessarily know it by listening to the band’s debut
full-length, Tapestry of Webs. The
group’s members have shed the sometimes painful histrionics, especially
vocalist Jordan Blilie, for poppier yet still experimental song construction
and texture instead of violent chaos.


The album’s opening tracks detail the new direction best –
“Paralyzer” softly builds upon clicking drumsticks and a stately baritone
guitar line (apparently, the band has no bass) before the atmosphere is
thickened with volume and feedback. “Falling Spikes,” on the other hand, skips
along briskly, slightly discordant guitar chords straddling the mix of low end
amidst what sounds like soft horn riffs. Here, in the chorus especially, Blilie
recalls shades of his past as a screamer, but he never quite reaches those
Blood Brothers pinnacles. The band has made some effective album sequencing
decisions as well, juxtaposing the hushed “Deep in the Valley” with the
wonderfully grating “K Hole” (another song that employs some woodwinds, more
Pharoah Sanders than Stan Getz here).


Tapestry of Web’s appeal isn’t immediate, but that’s also the key to its success. At first blush,
songs like the eponymous “Past Lives” confound – all the pieces fit together
into a pleasant pop structure without ever giving in to the saccharine joys of
the genre. But who wants sugar when you can suck down the spice of Mark
Gajadhar’s drumming and Morgan Henderson’s distended guitar string bends. Past
Lives have created an intensely interesting record with a sound that is firmly
locked into the future of punk rock. It’s not always as noisy, but it’s still
poignant, political, emotional, and immediate.


 Standout Tracks: “Paralyzer,” “Past Lives” JONAH FLICKER


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