Local Reviews: Birthquake!

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Rejoice the Noise
Kilby Records
Street: 12.19.09
Birthquake! = Apostle of Hustle + Cougar + Vampire Weekend
In many instances of math rock, the progressions can feel forced. The beauty of that music is its subtle tension. There’s a comfort to the cascading riffs and staccato rhythms. These guys feel utterly at home in their musical space, which is fitting, as the three members are brothers. Imagine the technicality of Cougar or Fang Island through the filter of simplicity present in Vampire Weekend, all constantly switching feels and apparent influences with the ease of Apostle of Hustle. Latin-sounding afro-pop butts heads with melodic post rock, sometimes bringing to mind Hot Club de Paris, and at other times the Fucking Champs. The album starts with “There Are Possums on this Plane,” which breaks its energy only for the choral utterance, “I love you brother!” Seventies-style arrangments show up on “Que Culo,” with its Gil-Scott-Heron-esque flute lines. Horns and more choral vocals make appearances, but as evidenced by “Speed Display” and “Panda Pajama Party,” this is undeniably math-influenced post rock. The  album’s end, featuring “Farewell, Fare Thee Well, Well,” and its staircase bass and guitar growls just left me wanting more. Rumor has it the brothers Whittaker just entered the studio again and will have a third release shortly.