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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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Woodenman Records

Rating: 7/10 ?

May 16, 2005
It would be predictable if Saababanks were to slip through the cracks without so much as a turned head. The three-piece group from Muncie, IN, is featured on the micro independent Wooden Man Records, and sounds like the underappreciated Gauge, boasting influences like June of 44 and Shellac. All the elements add up to inevitable obscurity and Saababanks seems to thrive on the potential.

With Saababanks, the group presents themselves, and their music, with very little image and even less glitzy bravado. The album artwork contains no lyrics or photographs, which is even more sparse than the band's website, which features a drawing of the trio and some basic information/credits.

From the start of "Relative Theory" to the end of "Manifesto," Saababanks is focused and to the point. There are no frilly riffs, no drawn-out solos and little dynamic building or deconstructing. The group finds their stride soon and often, as it only takes 15-30 seconds from the beginning of each song for a breakout of deep, distorted bass and Kevin J. Frank-like screaming.

In terms of comparison to Gauge, Saababanks only misses out on Frank's angular and dodgy guitar dexterity. Segments of palm-muted guitar and cutting yet shadowed bass are dead ringers for Gauge's Soothe-era material or even sounding like the dark, fluid and moodily redolent Abilene.

Saababanks is also a constant showcase the group's solid timing. For anything with a common meter the trio is laid out into a fixed pocket, as tight and communicative as any well-versed jazz formations must be to create one whole sound. Stops and starts, accented punctuations and collective fills are what differentiates Saababanks from any other post-punk group from the Midwest. Some listeners will want to call this time aspect 'mathy,' but the defined characteristic speaks more as a credit to a thoughtful song creation.

Some moments of are more obviously driven by the fondness of Saababanks towards their predecessors. The effects noticeably spill over first during "Captain Mike," in which a repetitive bass line and drum pattern sound a little too much like Shellac's "Didn't We Deserve a Look at You the Way You Really Are". If not for this similarity, the album comes off entirely as an original theme of hard-wrenched, composedly detailed post-punk efforts.

Saababanks' future may seem somewhat predictable through their many surrounding underground-defining details, but this self-titled release throws the seemingly knowable to the wind in a 40-minute exploration of where the past can lead when few are paying attention.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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