I once had a conversation with an acquaintance about my favorite sub-genre, “math-rock,” knowing full well I’d have to explain its definition. He’d heard it meant “emotionless, show-off music.” I was both pissed at whoever told him that, and sad that it’s probably the popular consensus.
To clarify, “mathiness” comes from changing time signatures, or at least playing something besides common-time – it’s a largely untapped source of tension and interest. Math-rock also seems to require a silly/strange sense of humor. Unfortunately, today’s standard bearers Hella and Tera Melos are dropping the ball, leaving a void – Hella’s on hiatus and Tera Melos are slowly becoming Wavves-meets-Nada Surf, or something similarly less awesome than their old selves.
Enter Seattleites Postmadonna. There are bigger names in the “ADHD” cult genre, but none have made it so catchy, melodic or lyrical. After a respectable demo (Antiquated), and a Philip K. Dick-inspired electronic experiment that suggests 65daysofstatic, Dntel, prog-metal and drum-and-bass (Valis), the dudes put their best foot forward on Introducing Postmadonna.
Introducing is, in one word – rad. In two – “too short.” Start to finish, not a second’s wasted. Every subtle dropped or added beat fits perfectly and demands repeat listens. And, Lordy, the choruses, or rather the six-vocalist scream-along anthems, kill. This cherry in their single of sorts, “Whose Absinthe Is This?,” particularly owns [LISTEN]:
Disparity reeks of fucking slime
Scores of revolving doors expanding their bottom line
Let’s expose the anti-zen
The men who pose as righteous
Only when lucrative to them
Not to abandon Valis’ psychedelia, the EP’s second half documents a mushroom trip: anticipation, euphoria, nostalgia, enlightenment, visual distortion, regretful longing, and a nauseating comedown. It’s all then backed by their signature math-pop into a melancholic string-ballad with drummer Richard Clark-Coller doubling down as violinist – a huge musical change, but it matches the lyrical progression from “Shroomiverse Part II” [LISTEN] to “Hallways” [LISTEN]:
If I could just pause my life, keep it the way I like
Watch my pupils fight for size as I lay on my back and fantasize
Of happier times, of happier times, of happier times
Split my brain apart, reassemble it anew
My eyes are kaleidoscopes
I slowly choke as the vomit creeps up my throat
My life has seem lucid these past few days
And now I’m saying hello to the heartache
Their whole catalog is available as “pay-what-you-want” on Bandcamp, with a new EP coming out this month, so you have no excuse: put these dudes on your iPod. Besides, Seattle listeners, it’s time for you to check out a local band that isn’t attempting to coattail-ride Fleet Foxes with MOR-folk and stereotypical gospel harmonies. Hell, you’ll even impress your biggest music-nerd friends.