The Panoply Academy Corps of Engineers' recent Concentus begins with bits scattered all over the floor, a deliberate bass over in a corner, a pretty guitar melody rolling across the room like a dust bunny, a snare tap sneaking in from under the floorboards, a whiny singer squeaking something about "constructing the functions." All the sounds gather for a moment, then scatter again, and you begin to wonder whether they're just teasing, messing with ingredients. Just as you wonder, 'Are they ever gonna get their shit together?' they do just that, and the song, "Beating Boring Organ Takes Bogus Breath," locks into one solid mass and all the wandering makes hindsight sense.
The Panoply Academy Corps of Engineers (a.k.a. Panoply Academy Glee Club, Panoply Academy Legionnaires), from Bloomington, Ind., create beautiful schizo guitar rock that best recalls the frantic days of early Pere Ubu, with a touch of that beautiful Wire guitar sound thrown in for good measure. They need a dictator to keep their attention on the task, though; like many emo bands these days (though the Panoply transcend the tag), just when they discover a good groove, they go and bury it on the way to the next one, and as a result the songs are in a constant state of flux. But the headless-chicken vibe they emit suggests a wild ride live, one we recommend investigating.