Friday, March 21, 2008

Seven Storey Mountain - "At The Poles" CD

Well-done, aggressive post-punk that channels some strong spirits. Think Wire, Gang Of Four or Killing Joke by way of Fugazi and Jesus Lizard, and you’ll be in the same zip code.
Seven Storey Mountain hail from Arizona and this, their third LP in 10 years, is a nicely dissonant slice of well-throttled guitars, angular grooves and melodic vocals that aren’t adverse to lung-shredding punishment if the song so requires.
“Take The Lead” is a top choice, with its subtle, circular guitar pattern giving way to a driving chorus that reminds me of Chicago punk legends Naked Raygun. But maybe that’s just the vocals of main belter (and producer) Lance Lammers. He rises above this comparison in the oddly shaped but potent “Sinking In,” or the grimy “Elevator.” The latter begins with a confounding, Lizard-esque riff attack, then evolves into a sing-along punk number. A nice touch.
“Take The Lead” is a fairly accessible song, and perhaps the best choice for a single with its muscular and reasonably straightforward delivery. “Sweet Forty-Nine” is packed with noise and intensity, but it’s a slow-building, tense attack, with a raved-up chorus and rolling drums. At The Poles is a finely-crafted, albeit brief (31-minute) set of tunes that are punchy and dynamic. They bring back a time when Touch & Go ruled college radio, and weird noise-rock was nothing to be ashamed of. (Thick Records)

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