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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
Ancient Greeks
The Song is You
Flameshovel Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Math pop takes a great deal of care and intelligence. Take fifty-one minutes and fifty-nine seconds and divide it by a strategic pattern of fives and sevens, and you'll see why the Ancient Greeks are geniuses. With the help of their friends from Joan of Arc, TV Pow, and good old Pythagoras, they have constructed elaborate free jazz to their own meticulous grid.

Like their label mates The Race and Visa Noir, their senses of style and exploration are not for the musically complacent. For their opening act, they bring bits and pieces of bop to the table in "Ask Me a Question about the Atom," and set a romantic/frantic pace to make fast friends, real nice-like. Then, they doze a little into lulling French-style pop for their second attempt, where normally a track called "Burning is Easy" would conjure fury and hellfire from a math rock unit. The difference is refreshing, as by the fourth track, "Lay Up," the winter-inspired, make-out music by numbers has grown charming roots into all former misconceptions.

The feel of The Song Is You somewhere between the Eurofuzz of the Aluminum Group, the hopeful romance of Tahiti 80, the adorable blush of early Cardigans fare, and the overwhelming cool of a hole-in-the-wall jazz club where the local legend bares his soul every week.

On what has become my favorite track, "Transcontinental", the unpredictable pace finds their prestigious tone in a misunderstood view into passion - like a foreign friend shouting furiously in secret tongue, thinking that a raised voice will make for understanding. The skill of jazz training meshes with the brawl of rapid, off-center, tonal madness. They burn off some of the sugar that sweetened the preceding tracks. Call me the atypical young woman, but the honesty is more romantically appropriate than the flattery, though the Ancient Greeks prove both are filling.

This is the perfect album to have fallen onto my desk on Valentine's Day. While it may not make the heart pine in the same way a heart-struck ballad evokes a miniature breakdown, it forces the coolness of a blown kiss across a crowded room into an unlikely leap of genres. I'm swept up in thoughts of pinstripes, snowy eyelashes, and hepcat vernacular, and I am content for these near fifty-two minutes to do nothing but flirt with the fantasy.

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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