Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Word Play - How I Became Illustrated

(words: milo)

You see the ornate cover design, the stark old-world wallpaper usually reserved for mad artists self-secluded into the heat of creation. You read the band name and you wonder if the Detroit based quartet are a bunch of sweater-vest enthusiasts hot from the grammar club meeting in the student union. Then you hear the music and you’re struck at how raw it is – quiet for the first couple seconds with the clattering of drumsticks – then every instrument explodes out the gates.

These briskly acerbic and spastically running guitar lines under a lackadaisical T.Moore/S.Malkmus-esque drawl with a shimmying boardwalk-in-the-sunshine melody, nicely fuzzed, and warbling along with rolling bass and tight elbow cracking percussion (“Out of Excuses”). The sonorous guitar riffs linger with a pretty reverb and hook n sway in a fine display of pop sensibility that rooms in the middle ground of post-punk and college rock (“The Critic Darling”). Transitioning from this song into pop gem “Action” reveals a trend (that continues throughout the 11 songs of this debut) that of the contrasting (and coalescing) vibe of soft and sunny to cutting and rampant. Or there's the trade off between singers: lower-range gruff Kevin McGorey (who leads on fuzzier, grittier, driving-beat of “Critic”) and the downier mid range of Ian Rapnicki (who leads on the arching spasmodic sunnier-toned guitars of “Action”).

Where as we might jump from Pavement style indie-fuzz shuffles (“Excuses”) to Gang of Four’s rickety-locked in rhythms and jerking literate punk (see “Dinner is in Disguise”)…the other variations lead from softer melody-focused tunes like the disarming delicacy of “Nervous Driver” and “You Solved It” to the cutting, yowling freakout explosions like “Cues from a Nervous God.” Either that, or we have songs that balance it all perfectly like the smooth layers and propulsive rhythms of “Three” (mp3 below) or the sweet guitar-glory and existential anthem (is that an oxymoron?) of closer “Tuning Out.”

Listen: "Three"

or, for more - Myspace
and, below - read our totally tubular Personality Quiz, presented by Elle (of Fonts and Detroit Riot fame) - Elle sat down with the boys of the Word Play and got them to share some pretty personal details... See who you are most compatible with...!!

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