Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Androcles and the Lion's pensive indie rock is comforting

December 14, 2011

I just read a piece about the early ’80s Athens, GA, scene by Anthony DeCurtis, and he asserts that the main thing people did there was dance. Seeing as the B-52s erupted from that college town, I can get behind that. Androcles and the Lion, however, do not share this body rockin’ predisposition with their geographical forebears. The Athenians in A+L are pensive indie-rockers, although their sound occasionally skews harder than your average rainy day band.

“All We Were” opens As Far as Blindness Could See with a sheet of morphing distortion that blends into some humming synths before breaking out into a pulsing rhythm. It’s vaguely spacey, in a Spiritualized sort of way; it’s a familiar and comforting experience. “Eulogy” is as loud as A+L gets, with clanging guitar offsetting the mopey vocals and oscillating synths. While it’s not bad, it’s easily the least memorable track, as A+L’s melodic bent is showcased much better in their quieter tunes.

“The Creek That Ran Behind Our House” depends on acoustic guitar and banjo for the basis of the tune, and calm vocals (recalling Damien Jurado) sell the tune perfectly. It’s the type of tune you put near the end of mixtapes and just chill to. Even when the arrangement fills out and speeds up, it’s still pretty downtempo (although the clanging guitar is a bit unnecessary). “Tired Voices” is just that, and it’s an apt closer to the 7-song EP.

Androcles and the Lion have a slow-paced, sad-eyed take on indie-rock. If Pedro the Lion and Ladies and Gentlemen-era Spiritualized had gotten together and covered each other’s songs, this may have sounded like it. If that’s as intriguing to you as it is to me, you’ll have a lot to shout about in As Far as Blindness Could See.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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