16 October 2010

Storm & Stress – under thunder and fluorescent lights (2000, Touch & Go)

Joan of Arc, Gastr Del Sol, Shipping News, Collections of Colonies of Bees. Add a fifth name to the list, it will be this extraordinary (defunct) trio from Chicago. Two albums, this is their second and last one. 

Not nobody, as Ian Williams (voice and electric guitar) was from Don Caballlero and next joined Battles, but Storm and Stress was like a step out of the road, not for everybody. Kevin Shea is the drummer and Erich Ehm plays the bass.

The structures are unconventional, like someone said brithghly about them, their structure is the absence of structure. It's not a surprise that “under thunder and fluorescent light” has been recorded under the supervision of Jim O'Rourke (Gastr Del Sol). 

They play math-rock music in the most subtle manner.  It's uneasy but superb, as minimalist as it is complex, as strangely fluid as it is de-structured. It's not improv music, the more you listen to this record the more you start to understand, to decode, an picture their logic, their intuitive alchemy. 

And it's probably the use of vocals that makes the album so interesting, that completes with an intellectual but sensitive emotional point of view. 

If you like the aforementioned bands and if you have an interest for math-rock in general this is an absolute place to visit . Brilliant and essential.

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