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


 » 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]


 » 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
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
The Mae Shi
5 Rue Christine

Rating: 6.5/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Most drivers avoid potholes in the road. Well, The Mae Shi, they try to hit each and every single one. And it's more than just trying, too. The act of seeking out these irregularities in a once smooth and solid fixture is what comprehensively defines the band.

On their journey, the quartet is hanging out of every car window, sun roof and trunk opening. They are howling and flailing their appendages as if in some insanely drunken state. They still drive on, though, varying speeds and jerking the steering wheel with reckless abandon, holding that road and yet - most importantly - seeking out those bumps and craters in the irregular blacktop.

Terrorbird, the band's latest release (and their first with record label 5 Rue Christine), mostly confuses the listener with questions upon their own focused logic: Is this punk rock?... Spaz rock?... Is this track #29 or #33?... Is this even music??

By sorting out the details, the listener can get closer to the truest essence of The Mae Shi. One can even further discover whether or not they like the record.

After initially listening to the album, to say that this group is nothing but a collection of Ritalin candidates with guitars would be a slight exaggeration. Then again, to say that they have a lot of energy also seems to come a little short. For one, there are 33 tracks on Terrorbird. They run quick. And short. Real short. Like this. Over and over again. 33 times.

The tracks do not come off as concise punk rock songs, though. Oftentimes, the compositions do not end with the album's track definition. A prime example comes with tracks 29 through 33, which are all cleverly entitled "Repetition" and are extensions of the same central idea: one long composition, without pause, burning through five album tracks.

At certain points on Terrorbird, this track-to-track leading induces the listener to continue on the wild musical ride - especially when it is at the end of the CD track at which the composition begins to unfold and break open. Additionally effective are off-beat hi hats, chanting and thumpy dance party bass lines that always seem to bring about body swaying regardless of the instrumental context.

In the other segments of the album, The Mae Shi formulate a balance of high-intensity rock and electronic experimental grooves. The former offers a dimension of thin yet edgy guitar riffs splayed over up-tempo drumming and bottomed-out bass - songs with an equal feel for the dissonance found in punk rock and the arrogance of 1970s fuzz garage rock. The latter electronic style is a departure from all-out heavy rocking and plays on the "toying" side, although the standout hyper electro-pop creation "Body 2" is the strongest track of the entire album.

There are so many outstanding characteristics to like and dislike about Terrorbird. At times, the album comes off as a disorienting musical carwash, and the splash of repetitive shrieks and free form instrumentation get to be a bit much. In these situations, though, one has to only wait 30 seconds for a new song - and with it, a possible newfound appreciation for the Mae Shi

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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