Music » Music Stories

Homespun: The Pat Sajak Assassins

Soundtracks for Superheroes (Self-released)


The idea behind Soundtracks for Superheroes is, on the surface, a simple one: Take the frenetic, kinetic energy of this horn-heavy instrumental band and gradually slow the tempo down over eight tracks. The album opens with the jarring shot "Wirecap," a song with a stuttering horn line that morphs into a slow-phase meditation. As math-rockers go, the Pat Sajak Assassins are damn fine at shifting rhythms and signatures at a moment's notice, and early on the disc they establish a dichotomy between the rhythm section's tightness and tenor saxophonist William Schafer's limitless freedom. The effect is similar to a freehand drawing done on a sheet of graph paper — it's hard to separate the art of the design from the stricture of the medium, and it's a battle that plays out over the course of the record.

The band's m.o. is best heard on "44 & Jamieson," and though it's placed late in the album, the song acts a kind of overture for the record, a nine-minute sampler of the group's style. Feedback and snippets of dialogue give way to a tinny, scattershot drum loop and sonorous bass chords. An unusually creamy tenor sax figure floats and dips above it all, until a clatter of broken glass shifts the song toward a loose guitar jam. As usual, the song rebuilds itself, having picked up new sounds and patterns along the way. The whole album operates on this principle: taking a hook or pattern, building the tension to a boil and letting it dissipate.
— Christian Schaeffer

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