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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Settlefish
Dance a While, Upset
Deep Elm Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Remember when Sunny Day Real Estate and Mineral were both considered just good rock, before the evil three-letter-word haunted their presence? Even now, those who defend emo (there, I said it) as a movement usually point to Sunny Day Real Estate and their ilk as the reason and example of how it works when done well. The bands were muscular, though it may make some wince hearing "muscular" in the context of a tear-soaked subculture. More akin to post-rock than anything overly emotional - in the sense that post-rock a label we put on "good" emo bands to keep them a safe distance away from speculation - they had something special. Encompassed within were powerful sounds, sweeping and uncompromisingly thorough.

Settlefish, in their faultless homage, recall the same string of better days and stronger associations. They are not afraid to break expectations wide-open with their form of skewed, Chavez-inspired rock. "Blindfold the Leaves" brings math textures and prolonged time signatures to full form, and then slows down in impatience before setting more dazzling pyrotechnics alight. Their control of climactic moments is impressive and exciting to behold.

"On Symmetry Pebbles" decidedly slows things down to flaunt their mastery of a beautifully melodic, complex ballad. As vocals incrementally rise above a steady three-four pace, the effect is a passionate foray into the leisurely lifestyle. Six minutes pass, and they still have my hushed attention.

"Camouflage Iris" brings unbridled chaos and contrast after such a sedated measure. It ends in a screeching halt of guitars and maniacal yowling, and finds the same target of breathlessness in a much different manner.

The band shows its many sides and talents in these differing but commonly-thread tracks of multifaceted splendor. They can even show off accessibility, highlighting a great sense of pop sensibility in "Measures can Divide" that would wake up even the most pie-eyed emo showgoer. It would be difficult to refute the band's effortless stride and continual quality. If Deep Elm is the label to bring their name from Italy to the States, then thanks go to them - but more to Settlefish for catching my attention despite any preconceived ideas. They have successfully brought some dignity back to a lost art form.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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