Poison Arrows – First Class, and Forever

January 01, 1970

(File Thirteen)




Featuring ex-members of Atombombpocketknife and Don
Caballero, this Chicago band can sound just like you’d imagine a
post-everything power trio should: viscous bass lines and guitar fragments
intricately woven together and powered by thunder percussion over Slint-ian
landscapes of shape-shifting time sigs. Not unlike their pedigrees, in other
words, but tilting more melodic since Atombomb’s Justin Sinkovich writes and
sings — like an American version of the Stone Roses’ Ian Brown at times —
here as well. But what elevates this full-length debut are the spacey (as in
practically Spiritualized spacey) synth interludes and melodies that act like
bellows, allowing the songs to breathe in and gather momentum between
well-paced bouts of 21st-century aggro.


“Twenty Percent Brighter,” an ironic title given the song’s
foreboding cast, is a pulsing creeper where processed guitars coat the horizon
in ghostly echoes, while the drums-and-bass tumult of “Casual Wave” is leavened
with high-pitched keys until it crescendos and disintegrates into programmed
glitch. Album highlight “An Unexploded Dream” weaves sinuous guitar lines and
synth alchemy between the drum kit’s shuffling gait, Sinkovich’s whisper
narrating a surrealist’s six-minute reverie. No wonder studio wizards like
Suicide’s Martin Rev and Califone’s Brian Deck remixed some of the band’s
earlier work on 2006’s download-only Premix — the same spacious, cinematic qualities that drew them to that also define this
promising debut.


“Fire Up the Happiness
Center” and “An
Unexploded Dream” JOHN SCHACHT



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