Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ad Astra Per Aspera - An Introduction To

(Big Brown Shark, 2003)

I saw these guys play in an Omaha basement on a fine 2003 eve, and after a summer of one-note hardcore bands (most of whom were good live, but, you know, you seen one you seen 'em etc.), I was mighty impressed by the notable DIFFERENCES I eyeballed here. It was a weird combo of HC throat-shred, mathiness, and classic prog, with rilly competent girl-played keys. Bloody and sweaty, but also a little complex and unpredictable. The 7" does a decent job of transferring the whole thing to vinyl, though the combined loss of HOT BASEMENT and LOUSY P.A. is a serious knock against. There should be more STINK than THINK on records like this, and I'm not sure that this tempo-shiftin', chorus-screamin', ivory-ticklin' disc comes down on the right side of the fence. Some good and appropriate aggression here, but there's just not enough FACE gotten into when all's sung and done. A later album on Sonic Unyon strays even further from the path of what I thought made 'em champs that starry (was it?) Nebraska night, so approach that one with caution after you give this 7" a twice-over.

Hey, here's a question: Why do bands with great live keyboard sounds tend to get such a CHEEZY keysound on their recordings?? Really! Almost every time! Including this time! Instead of some in-the-red speaker-spew, we get... a ballpark organ?? C'mon; just get it right!

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