» 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 Worker
Roydale Recording Company

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
The Worker had everything going for it before I even put it on. It is in its second pressing, like a reintroduction for those of us who didn't catch it the first time. It had spectacular art by Bird Machine/Dianogah artist Jay Ryan (a personal favorite), and included baseball references, production by Steve Albini, and comparisons to Hüsker Dü, Polvo, and Spoon backing it up. .22 has toured with the likes of Silkworm, Steven Malkmus, and HUM, and guilty buzzwords like "intricate" and "sparse" were scattered throughout prior reviews, so I knew what to expect.

Patently, all of these pieces are in place. The tracks string along with busy instrumentals paired by calm, plaintive vocals. Changes of pace and chord structure are in check, and the way is well paved in progression to ultimate crescendos. That said, some tracks border on formulaic, pre-conceived notions of math rock, but in the end, all stylistic patterning is redeemed by the sheer integrity of the band and their capable mastery of volume and proportion.

The sonic references that rise to mind most clearly are Minus the Bear, Karate, and Aloha - .22 comes off as an amalgam of those three similarly-toned outfits, with great detail, building momentum, biting lyrics, and earnest vocals. As the band proclaims, The Worker is marked by great subtlety. Therein lies both the danger and the appeal: Some tracks feel weighted down by the burden of prescribed method, but happily, the band tends to work their way out by track's conclusion. To borrow their thematic metaphor, they rally for a win in extra innings: Namely in "Blackout" and "Einstein," where, like great film, a twist at the end turns an ordinary piece into something surprisingly artful.

In the two most fulfilling tracks, "Limelight" and "The Old Man and the Dirty Bottle of Water," the band immerses their work in broad strokes of detail, and skewers more poppy, energetic structures with distorted hooks and significant drums. Instead of starting slow and moving to a dynamic close, these standout cuts stitch intelligence and baited imagery through wildly choppy time signatures and unbridled mechanical skill.

Perhaps what is even more impressive about this outfit is that they are decidedly lo-fi, and consist of three hard-working Chicagoans, sparkling in a competitive local scene. If I still lived in Chicago, I'd traipse multi-colored "L" lines to catch their live show, and in my mind's eye, they would be as striking without the punch of lauded production. These fellows have something akin to keen problem-solving skills - they know what it takes to get the right answer, whether immediately or eventually, they combine efforts and find victory again and again.

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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