Album Review: Them, Roaringtwenties – Future Sandwhich

May 15, 2009

in the running for worst album cover 2009

in the running for worst album cover 2009

 

Chicago four piece Them, Roaringtwenties are relativly new on the circuit but have drummed up a lot of talk in their wake.  Focusing mostly on jazz based math-rock its hard to get excited about yet another contender for the non existant math-rock crown.  These boys do try and stand out in several ways, some more effectivly than others.  Overall a very fun time.

Most math rock you will likely find rarely takes itself too seriously (see don-cab’s song titles) but not to the level that is achieved with Future Sandwhich.  Not only featuring ridiculous song titles but also completely odd lyrics and confusing use of auto tune.  Granted they are used very sparingly across the songs it really doesn’t add much of anything in my opinion.  In fact id say it takes away from the instrumentation a bit.  The strange thing is that the more you listen to it the more you’ll start to warm to the strange vocals about sandwhiches and womens “hair” styles.  Sampled childrens story book audio is also used in the first couple tracks but just ends up a little too gimmicky.

Honestly though do you really care about math rock vocals? because i sure dont.  As far as instrumentation goes it is actually more impressive than i had anticipated. Track 2  “Harry Carry Frontier Guide Hawkeye” blasts out of the gate and rarely lets up using tightly wound jazzy guitars.  Harmonica also makes an appearence and is used really well to dance over the controlled hoe down math rock stomp.

 The one thing i noticed about this group and its hard to notice unless your paying close attention is one guitar always seems to be playing something rhythmic but atonal and the other something melodic.  Often times switching which guitar does which or joining the other in unison.  It really shows that there is a high value for varied instrumentation as some songs pull out some pretty big time changes.  Drums stick pretty close with the bass but are expertly played with well placed fills and open hi-hat use.  They dont typically add to the guitars but it sounds like it might be a bit hard to compete with those flying guitars.

Aside from the vocals another stumble which is really only a minor gripe is when the group chooses to slow things down it gets a bit “Kinsella” if you know what I mean.  This wouldn’t normally be a problem if it wasn’t such a shift from fast slightly inventive melodies.  Those boys do tend to have a monopoly on pretty math styled offerings as they are incredibly prolific.   As I said a very minor fault as they are very nice portions of the songs, I could have dealt with something a bit more original. 

For better or worse the vocalist and keyboard player ended up dropping out of the band recently so we will see if future releases will find them replacing that aspect or not.  I have a suspicion though that they will probably go instrumental as most of their songs are already that way.  Will be looking forward to a proper full length.

 

RATING: A NERD ROPE.  Very pretty to look at and tastey.  A little too sweet at times but satisfied in the end.

http://www.myspace.com/themroaringtwenties

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