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 » 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
Archaeology
Chant Chant Camp
Thug Factory

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


December 5, 2006
There is something about Archaeology that is very promising. Some would argue that they aren't the pinnacle of originality or technicality, but I would combat that they possess a musical solidarity that is all the (much) more important to the skill set of a rising band.

Some time ago I wrote a review for the Archaeology debut album, Slow and Gifted, following an impressive performance at Schubas in Chicago. The group has continued to play gigs around Chicago and, with each inspired performance they turn out, gain a modest following. Chant Chant Camp is a further step in the right direction and gains the quartet additional cred.

Chant Chant Camp is eight tracks of near-psychedelic rock exploration, upright/solid musicianship, and mutating sounds. The group is undoubtedly associated with the indie rock camp, but the common conventions of that style sell Archaeology a bit short. Rather than lumping them in with so many different bands of an independent culture, it is better to describe the facets of style that they embody. References will be used but stick with me here, folks.

The 'similar bands' tab for Archaeology would not be complete without a reference to Mercury Program. Although the latter is instrumental and more influenced by forces outside of rock music, both groups are/were heavily into mid-to-slower tempos, reverb/filtered sound, and somewhat darker but upbeat melodic and guitar-centric song formations. Bass lines with Archaeology recall Lustre King's Craig Ackerman, who was very aggressive and stylistic but also always attentive to framing the bottom of each song in deep tones. The drums of Chant Chant Camp are just as solid - based in rock meters (mostly 4/4 patterns) but doing so in creative ways, and often cutting time and throwing in some offbeat dance grooves. Guitars wring out in echoing chambers of plucked notes, like vibrating angular lines of a spider web.

Where Archaeology differs from all previous comparative references is in their lyrics and vocal harmonies. Some of the best parts of Chant Chant Camp are when guitarist/singer Nicholas Mirzabegian and bassist/singer Brad Smith match up for two part harmonies (listen to lead track "Abricka Bradaptah"), call-and-response segments ("Water In the Boat"), and powerful distress signals (like in "Water In the Boat" when the two simultaneously drone "Decompose the chemicals/ Water in the boat, oh no" or again in "The Island Sound" when they stingingly accuse "These bridges were broken long before you were around").

If the high points of the album are its crafty and assertive vocal parts, then the strength between those peaks, and the players' overall solidarity, is the band's highlight; Archaeology have an uncanny ability to make the idea of exploring and transitioning into an actual song. This band's calculated compositions are something that few rock bands do so well, with crescendos building to intense choruses - or on the flipside, with all-out choruses paving the way for psychedelic mini-jams that showcase things like unexpected vibe hooks and guitar effects. This aspect especially separates Archaeology from others.

(Until their label website is up and running, check out the band online at www.tonsofpeyote.com.)

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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