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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
Centaur
In Streams
Martians Go Home

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Despite milking their fair share of the national spotlight on the wave of their dreamy cosmonaut summer rock hit "Stars", the Champaign, Illinois quartet HUM were a modest success in sales. Where the sad scientists of drop tuning made their mark was by influencing bands like the Deftones who, through their extended success, have expanded on the sound and made it more accessible. And HUM have also, it would seem, heavily influences main songwriter Matt Tabott's new outfit, the similarly themed Centaur. In accessing the similarities between the two bands, one critic noted that Talbott found the experience of Centaur "liberating, as working within a three-piece structure helped weaken the opinion of Centaur as HUM, Jr." I also read in a press blurb somewhere that Centaur had indeed experimented with a second guitarist, but the idea was nixed when Talbott felt it was becoming too similar to HUM.

I'm sure you realize what I'm getting at. For all of it's direct renouncement of the fact, In Streams is hard to conceptualize without the afterglow of Tabott's former band. Centaur is not HUM - the sound is different, altered - but it is very, very similar. Many of the songs are wrought with the tension of Tabott's cold, almost metallic acoustic strumming not used in force since HUM's raw Electra 2000. The six strings rattle earnestly through the opening of the third track, "Wait For the Sun", almost hinting at a proto-Kurt Cobanian moment. Then the delay kicks in and the band burbles to life in a muddled, Melvins-heavy trip that soaks the air in sweat like a stoned-out cartwheel trip through time and space.

As a person who would consider himself somewhat sentimental, I have to question my motives for getting into this album. Are they motives? Do I need motives? Or do I just feel guilty for letting my sentimentality get the best of me? Centaur isn't HUM, and I can say that with confidence. But they're pretty close on almost all counts. The din is a little lighter due to the absence of the previously noted second guitar, but the songs aren't without their own beefy convictions. There is more overt use of melody in the extra space provided, and the bass is let loose all over In Streams such as in "Strangers On 5" but in that very song you can feel a bit pandered to with the intermissionary racket and obligatory keyboard flitting. The extra elements that In Streams possesses over an album like Downward Is Heavenward feel a bit tacked-on in hindsight, and while the flourishes do accomplish a more eclectic atmosphere there is a lot to be said for that second, missing guitar.

Reviewed by Clifton Gates
Currently sleeping on beaches in Costa Rica, Clifton Gates is an occasional contributor, editor, idea springboard and moral crutch to LAS magazine.

See other reviews by Clifton Gates

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