Bound for Glory
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 28, 2006 8:39PM
Bound Stems don’t sound like they’re from Chicago. Actually, they sound like they should either be from the Pacific Northwest or D.C., since both of those areas seem particularly adept at teasing out the emo (and we mean Rites of Spring emo, not Flop Haired Boy mall-punk) and fusing it with jarring pop.
The group’s debut, Appreciation Night, is filled with clattering tunes that lean in towards the maelstrom of sound the band throws around. There are tender moments (“Excellent News, Colonel”), and the occasional studio experiment (“Pulling On Pigtails”) to break up the intensity and to keep the listener from suffering the screaming fantods such an unrelenting emotional firestorm might trigger.
The album is, in particular, a sonic treat. We can tell the songs were carefully put together in the studio. We can also surmise that the skeletons were hashed out live since the underlying structures are so vibrant, allowing the studio flourishes to color and tickle when a lesser band would have just let them constrict and suffocate.
Appreciation Night has swiftly leapt to the top of our list of favorite local discs of 2006. Like most albums of the new millennium, spurred on by so much digital space available alongside the ease of recording nowadays, the disc could do with a bit of culling. No single song is particularly weak; we just feel that a terrific debut could have been the perfect debut with a touch of editing.
Catch the band as they swing through town to play The Note in the midst of a sprawling national tour, and decide for yourself whether we are justified in luxuriating in Bound Stems’ glorious noise.
The Note, Tonight, 9:00 p.m., $8, 21+.