Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Optional Body on 25 Diamonds Records

Optional Body is not only made up of guys coming from a long long line of bands, Year Future, The VSS, Angel Hair, Dead And Gone, Some Girls, Camera Obscura, Spacehorse, Champagne Kiss, Vietnam, and The Icarus Line to name a few but vocalist Sonny Kay is the same guy who ran Gold Standard Laboratories for fourteen years releasing incredible stuff of legend from Locust, The Rapture, The Convocation of (I forget how great these records were), The Faint and of course Mars Volta. Omar from Mars Volta eventually co-ran the label with Sonny, something I didn't know before comparing this project to ATDI I swear. I already had a lot of respect for these guys going in with this incredible resume, I didn't need any more pressure to not come off like a complete moron.

But "Surviving Avalanches" has a lot in common with At The Drive In, their frantic rhythms, the manic pounding drums with the guitars going off on single minded tangents. Sonny Kay on vocals is fighting through a distorted echo to push out these abstract post vocals. The kinds of things that hint at being a serious writer in just a piece of a sentence so packed with imagery, it's an entire premise for a trilogy.

Cold birds who dream of sleep in prison shine their beaks.

It's delivered as if this was a shocking memory. Disjointed moments, clips of some kind of situation that only music can describe in such a specific picture, setting the scene while being so obscured at the same time. Things that aren't so spelled out have more weight and the brief patterns of guitars and rhythms bend to cycles of that precise post rock sound. It's so off and running out of the gate that it's a little unsettling. The guitar composed out of non melodic rhythms but in their repetition they wind back around to hinting at those pop combinations. They never go straight but take certain pieces of the formula as a jumping off point to find the same place as those ATDI records which were over just as soon as they started.

B-Side's "Inelastic" comes out with a weirder rhythm, a sort of a twisted post reggae in the middle of a left turn and Rocky on guitar plays with high, piercing chorus sounds. A nightmare island beat in the middle of a storm, lightning crashing all around. They seamlessly change gears into related beats of an entirely different time signatures and this has a sludgier slower tempo that reminds me a lot of These Are Powers, not the digital twisting or heavy electronics but their ghost punk sound. There isn't anything nice or sunny about either of these two tracks, but they aren't obsessed with a dystopian future either. The sleeve points to both of those things already present in the past. History repeats...history repeats...history repeats...

Color or Black Vinyl from 25 Diamonds Records

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