steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Words For Snow / Tristan Da Cunha

Split CD

The Losing Blueprint

Genres: math rock, indie rock

Andrew Wagner
12A Day Street
Waltham MA 02453

Dec 15 - 21 2003

Math rock ahoy!  Boston offspring Words For Snow and Tristan Da Cunha are two of the best bands of their genre, mainly because they have the distinction of using their mathematical rhythms and guitar riffs to create melodies, something many math rock bands seem to forget.  And fortunately they've both brought their A-games for this exciting split release, and the resulting album is an enjoyable artifact for fans of math rock and indie rock alike.

Words For Snow kicks things off with the jagged detail and melodic urgency of professionals - "Paperweight" is a revelation in complex indie rock, combining amazing technical ability with pure accessibility.  This trend continues through the band's three other songs, most notably the heavily Jawbox-influenced number, "Rome."  While the tracks do come off as being a bit homogeneous throughout, that isn't really a problem for this short sample of tunes.

Tristan Da Cunha, meanwhile, has culled five live tracks for their half of the disc.  Less immediately melodic than their split-neighbours, TDC still manage to knock the listener out in a flurry of hip vocals and Fugazi-esque energy and guitar abuse.  "No Great Shapes" and "Happy Playtime" are genre-defining moments - somewhere in between Q and Not U and Faraquet. The band delivers the riffs and hooks with passion and impatience, cramming as much as they can into every song.  The low point is actually the band's last song, "Sequestered Perplexities" - as a track on a CD, it is more of a fragment than an actual piece.

It's impossible to decide which of Words For Snow and Tristan Da Cunha have won this battle of the bands.  They both have similar but unique styles that deserve to be heard.  Needless to say, if you've got six bucks plus postage lying around, this split could be a wise investment.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 9 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]