Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Lamps-Dot with a Dot in a Dot Dot Dot

May 1, 2007

theantiTheanti/[http://www.indermamusic.com/lamps.html”>Lamps – Dot with a Dot in a Dot Dot Dot

TheAnti’s half of Dot with a Dot in a Dot Dot Dot (which you can hear here astonished me. I’m used to stuff from Inderma Records being almost impossibly indie – as close to indecipherable as possible, but still retaining that last shred of melodicism. Whether it be ambient, improv or even singer/songwriter, I expect undefinable weirdness from Inderma Records.

That’s why I was floored when cohesive song structures busted out of my speakers. I was even more amazed that the stuff was incredibly tightly recorded – I’ve also come to expect odd, lo-to-mid-fi recordings from them.

But the thing that really blew my mind, spun me on my head and let me know that Theanti is committed to being as unexplainable and indefinable as their previous releases is the fact that even though these songs are real songs and not experiments, they’re still entirely unclassifiable.

Theanti combines the raw speed and intensity of punk, the aggressive yet artsy melodicism of post-hardcore and the gritty clang of indie-rock to create songs that burn with a raw passion that is extremely rare. These songs are powered by adrenaline, and although there are still rhythmic freakouts, they serve to further the purpose of fist-pumping rock’n’roll.

Opener “The Cancer Generation” is the epitome of Theanti’s evolution, jumping back and forth between quickly-strummed gritty guitar lines and slower, melodic sections with layers of angst-ridden vocals cascading over the top. It sounds like all of the best aspects of MeWithoutYou with a searing, honest shot of realism replacing MWY’s brooding moodiness.

“What Keeps You Alive Can Kill You” swerves even closer towards pop music with (dare I say it) memorable melodies amid the yelling and clanging. It sounds a little bit like the punk revival that Latterman and the rest of the New York punks are creating. But right when it starts to seem like something, it changes – the rhythms that the drummer infuses here really swing the sound towards something recognizable to listeners of post-hardcore and old-school emo.

“We Are Ruins” has a catchy melody augmented by a nifty rhythmic pattern – and the vocals are even sung. The best rhythmic freakout of the entire four songs is captured here, before bashing into the most straight-forward rock section of the entire set. This is stuff that Mars Volta fans would eat up, for sure. The guitar and drum work here is nothing short of torrential. It’s fantastic.

“People Like to Talk” would be a three-minute pop song, if Theanti didn’t go and make it more interesting by adding sampled clips of people talking and wild, passionate, barely-contained vocals. It just serves to show that sometimes the most unexpected thing an unconventional band can do is throw something conventional out and show just how bad everyone else is at doing it.

Theanti continues to amaze me with each release. Inderma Records is actually selling this split (for 5 bucks, but still, they’re actually selling something), which is a new development as well. Maybe everyone’s growing up. Maybe the world is ending. For sure, you should check out this split, because if Lamps is half as good as Theanti is, this will be something you regret missing.

Stephen Carradini

independentclauses@hotmail.com

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

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