What happens when you take the rhythm section out of Fugazi and add a jazz guy? Something like the Messthetics I imagine. Here's nine songs they recorded in their practice space, semi structured with lots of room for improvisation. Simple guitar, bass, drums set up explored by some of the finest players in the biz.
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I completely lost myself listening to this. At some point all sense of sentience and free thinking abandoned me and my head became an Escher painting for the music of the Messthetics to live in, moving in and out of different entrances and exits while I just, like, sat here. Like someone speed-running Portal, this is rock music for itself with its own routes and systems.
It’s also math metal, like they used to make: the Messthetics have been described by our Clinton as Fugazi through a jazz filter, which makes sense given that their old bassist Joe Lally fills out one if the band’s roles. Really, though, their brazen, chaotic sound sounds something like the ‘American Don’ era of Don Cab scheming on the low with the Fucking Champs, a band whose instrumental heavy metal focused on repeating and retooling solo-style riffology ‘til your brain kinda dissolved from it.
The blueprints for being the Messthetics aren’t legally binding: it seems you can make tracks as frantic and punkish as “Serpent Tongue” while also aching your way through one like “Once Upon a Time”, a gorgeous, forlorn guitar piece that somehow draws lushness out of its distortion. Their more overtly mathy moments can make these kind of juxtapositions a bit jarring, but the combination is startling: the endless fury-frets of “Quantum Path” exist alongside “The Inner Ocean”, which takes a Dirty Three lullaby and gives it symphonic riffs worthy of recent Godspeed. They’re constantly tinkering, but tinkering to the stars, up the mountains, into heaven.
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