Del Rey

Del Rey

Speak It Not Aloud

My Pal God

It is tempting to lump this record in with the whole Tortoise Chicago alternative-post-rock crowd. After all, we are talking about an instrumental combo of four guys who cannot really be tied down to any particular genre, as fully conversant with the terms of jazz as they are with the sounds of alternative rock. And they are based in the Windy City, and they do use some strange time signatures, and they do have multiple percussionists…

And it’s even more tempting when we hear the first song from their 38-minute “full-length” debut album, Speak It Not Aloud. “Jet Above Water” seems like a page straight from the McEntire/O’Rourke playbook: tense guitar lines, bass grooves that change back and forth between funky and rocky, and a whole lot of drums. So we keep listening; and damned if “Pastille” doesn’t sound even more like TNT-era Tortoise than “Jet Above Water” did. And, we’re sorry, if you’re looking to avoid comparisons with Tortoise, you don’t name a song “There is Some X Such That X Loves.” You just don’t.

So just as we’re ready to write them off as minor-league post-rock, they come busting out with the pretty great “Malvado I.” Sure, it’s more of the same, but it shows some real fire and passion; its continuation at the end as “Malvado II” sounds pretty ace as well. We’re really loving the way “Gone Country” takes us on an eight-minute trip through jamming rockstuff and electronics, but with a serious backbeat. But then we’re back to stuff like “List,” which just ambles around aimlessly for six and a half minutes without distinguishing itself.

Ultimately, this is a good record, but it suffers by being too closely tied to its obvious influence: this sounds more like Tortoise than Standards did. And we bet they’re pretty damned great live. Sure, you could pick worse influences, and these guys are pretty young. They’ve got time to really bust out with stuff. And we’re waiting. But they’re going to have to cut the cord with the next record.

My Pal God Records:

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