Elusive Parallelograms: CD Release @ Cactus Club, 3-5-11

Mon Mar 14 2011

For their album release party, Elusive Parallelograms put together one of the tightest triple bills in recent memory at the Cactus Club: three excellent local bands whose styles complement each other perfectly.  I’ll admit I was a little nervous, as the last time I’d seen EP headline, they were a bit tipsy by the time they got onstage and the set was underwhelming.  I knew they were capable of greatness, but lately it has seemed that the lesser-known opening acts at Cactus have been dominating the bigger names…

The tradition continued tonight to a degree with Ikarus Down.  Feet firmly planted in accessible grungy rock but with a few experimental flourishes, the band succeeds on tight, powerful songwriting and the vocal talents of singer/guitarist Jonathon Ferrer.  The guy’s got a heck of a range and a captivating intensity in his delivery whether he’s belting it out or drawing down the histrionics.  The songs are moody, evoking Elbow and the better aspects of Mutemath, but with somewhat more progressive tendencies.  The band occasionally stepped over the cheese line, but generally the strength of the melodies and some choice lyrics kept thing from getting corny (caveat: the band’s 2010 EP does not showcase its strengths well; let’s hope the forthcoming full-length will capture more of the group’s live essence).

Arkady is a no-nonsense moody punk band with strong shades of Samiam in its heyday; don’t call it an emo revival!  There’s not a lot more to say about ‘em, except it was nonstop energy, revved-up rock and roll, and if you like that sort of thing, you would’ve enjoyed this set.

The EP boys didn’t appear to be wasted when they got onstage, so that was good.  They’re almost a perfect cross between the first two bands, but with a heavy dose of psychedelia thrown into the mix.  The new material was very well-rehearsed and made up most of the set; as you’d expect, the raw edge of the songs came across more vividly live than on the album (Modern Splendor, which should be in record stores soon), and it was great to see the room still full and everyone rockin’ out.

EP had been more or less dormant for quite some time, and it seems their fanbase may have grown during the offseason.  But the set seemed awfully short; I admit I’d been hoping for more classics from And Everything Changes, but at least we got “Orange”, one of the greatest party-punk anthems I know of.  But for a scrappy bunch of punks, these guys did an impressive job with the more sophisticated tunes while retaining that raucous edge throughout the set.  That’s a difficult balance to maintain, and those who can do it are often destined for big things.  Get out and see this band in the clubs while you can.

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