Aquitaine American Pulverizer, Part 2 aquitaine.bandcamp.com
The local foursome Aquitaine released American Pulverizer, Part 1 eighteen months ago with a mix of Brit-rock styles from across the past four decades. It was enough to make one nostalgic for the old "Oasis vs. Blur" feuds of the mid-'90s (which were a waste of time, anyway: Pulp won hands-down).
But don't look at American Pulverizer, Part 2 as a true sequel to that EP. While this is another five-song burst, the band went a touch more conceptual for this set. It's not a concept record per se, let alone a mini-rock opera, but there is a loose storyline that features cloning, robots and some vague dystopian foreboding. Luckily the sci-fi doesn't overwhelm the rock & roll on the disc, and the press kit even includes a handy Choose Your Own Adventure-style guide to rejiggering the tracklist and altering the storyline -- no one involved is treating this thing like the second coming of 2112 or Kilroy Was Here.
The slow, swirling build of shoegaze is best heard on "Meteor Showers," and its layers of fuzz and feedback suggest that Aquitaine works best with a steady churn. Guitarist Gerald Good, who has since amicably left the band, sings lead here, and his softer approach is nicely enveloped in the surrounding fuzz.
Aquitaine's dynamics are fuzzier -- and not always in the intended manner -- on a track like opening cut "Robotson," with its herky-jerky stops and starts that never quite congeal (unless, in keeping with the title, the band aimed for something almost, but not quite, human). Lead singer and guitarist Will Hildebrandt is much more confident and convincing in his vocals this time around; he's making his own mark rather than borrowing from a handful of post-punk personalities. Closing track "Breakdown" serves as a build-up and a come-down for all that comes before, but as a stand-alone track it shows some of the band's best stuff: heavily effected guitar tones, moody atmospherics and icy vocals.
Aquitaine Record Release 9 p.m. Friday, January 3. The Firebird, 2706 Olive Street. $7. 314-535-0353.
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