Sunday, 16 October 2011

Walking The Margins With Brooklyn's Red Measure

I can't explain all I ever wanted to do. 

Fugazi - Margin Walker 

Photo Credit: SMS Chauhan

Slinking up from somewhere around Brooklyn's fair borough, my initial thoughts on Red Measure's new EP - their first, in fact - were that too few bands are willing to twist their music into new, interesting forms. If I'm wrong, you need to send me your favourite samples of evidence to prove it so. Start your abuse on Twitter, by all means. 

Red Measure don't fall into that category. Indeed, from the first three songs they've put out into the world, they don't drop into any category all that neatly. 

Red Measure - Seven Inch by Red Measure

The spirit of (very) early Queens of the Stone Age haunts the hallways of opener Parlor Pageant, though the pace and prickly guitar attacks have a much more post-punk air than that comparison allows. The combination blends together for a vaguely unsettling yet rather satisfying ambiance.

Walking On the Hill conjures up a similar feeling, with languid vocals drifting through, contrasting starkly with a tense rhythm section and wailing guitars that seem to bleed from the speakers. Here I started to pull elements of Fugazi from the mix, as the only reference point I can touch upon for simultaneously creating relaxation and anxiety in a three minute song.

Closing out with Wall Patch Compound, the sound acquires a greater density. You also detect a slightly more aggressive lyrical delivery, hinting that there may well be heavier material to come on future releases. Delving into the lyrics provides no clue as to the source of increased vocal tension, with lines like "Wild hands are coming out of sour mud / You've got scissors / But you don't know what to cut" suitably obtuse to pique interest but draw no firm conclusions. Meanwhile, the snake-like guitars continue to slither underneath, occasionally striking out to inject extra venom, as and when the song requires it. 

Though there are still plenty of rough edges here, natural to a band exploring their early sound, the EP points to a path that we'll want to follow. Channeling high quality influences of which they possibly aren't even fully aware, Red Measure show the potential to dig into deeper and darker shafts of long forgotten musical mines. Should they emerge with a twisted trove of post-something alternative gold, whatever now constitutes the Brooklyn music scene will be all the richer for it. 

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