Lava-Ox-Sea — Next Episode: Lord Smart vs Dr. Jin
(Tenzenmen 043TZM, 2009, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-06-19
This band from Hefei in the Anhui province of Eastern China (not exactly a hotbed of music as far as I'm aware) occupies what could probably be an uncomfortable spot that doesn't exactly fit into the established genres of post-rock or math-rock, though it contains elements of both. Many of the tunes feature the kind of melodic build-up we've come to expect from post-rock bands around the world, but occasionally they break out into some weird choppy rhythms reminiscent of math-rock. There are vocals on some of the tracks, though they're generally understated. They also have a kind of looseness to the arrangements that tells you they've been playing these tunes for a while. Many of them appear on the band's previous independent release, the live Heavy Metal Rock Is the Best Music (which is many things, heavy metal not among them). The guitar / bass / drums trio manages to fill a lot of space without resorting (much) to overdubs or guest musicians; the guitar very rarely steps up for what could be called a solo, instead voicing the chords in ways that bring out the melodies from within. There's just something appealing about the sound, something I have trouble putting my finger on. I guess I just like the way these guys play, the way the bass and drums fit together and break up the rhythm of the guitar parts. And I've got to mention the packaging: Next Episode comes in a cardboard envelope with stickers for the artwork on front and back; inside are a sticker and a booklet of really interesting art of quirky sci-fi imagery and text. Very nice!
Related artist(s): Lava-Ox-Sea
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