Portable

Portable

Only If You Look Up

TVT

First time through, my notes read, simply, “Above average nu-alt-emo-metal.” The singer was just kinda singing in that way everyone does, the band was playing crunchy music that turned light at slightly interesting junctures, whatever. But I was kind of intrigued by the last song listed on the case (conveniently titled “Last Song”), and the way it turns from being a really long slow sadsack dirge fueled by acoustic guitars into an angular guitar epic–and from there into a delicate backwards-feedback deal. It’s nine and a half non-wasted minutes which then kicks into the bonus track, “Freaks,” which is a really really good Knack/Cheap Trick power pop song that slags off adults everywhere! Ace! Gear! Fab!

I was filled with shame for almost writing off these guys off, so I listened again, and discovered a great record. Chance is the nom de musique of the singer-songwriter guy, and he’s got an interesting thing happening. He is both a Cobainesque commentator on our bad bad world (“A man destroys! A man destroys! A man destroys! A man destroys! Take notes!“) and a heartsick balladeer (“I won’t wait till December / To get it all figured out / I won’t wait till the picture / Is all worn out“). And the band that backs Chance is a tight engine indeed: check guitarist Gus Ciceri on the chugging “Left,” the very woozy “Suffocate,” and the almost Thin Lizzy-like “Roll Over and Play Dead.”

So this is kind of a miracle, then: modern alternative rock that doesn’t suck and fails to be soulless or brainless. Celebrate the miracle.

TVT Records: http://www.TVTrecords.com

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