steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Between Noise and the Indians" CD

Joyful Noise

Genre: rock, math-rock

Bloomington, IN

October 2009

With the voracity of a helicopter's blades, Push-Pull brings on the energy with this delightful slab of chaos. By the non-sequitur track titles alone, you know there's going to be a considerable math-rock influence present, and Between Noise And The Indians does not disappoint. These folks certainly know their way around a time signature or eight, but vocals and catchy choruses are also significant contributors to the noise. It's kind of like Don Caballero, The Dismemberment Plan, and The Jesus Lizard all thrown into a wood chipper together.

Through all the gushing power riffs, frenetic drumming, and impassioned singing/yelling, a few tracks stand out as essential. Anthemic "Fire" hits with the heaviness of high-end Helmet, and "The Geek" boasts a gnarly Archers of Loaf (in)sensibility. Even the Weezer-esque rock of "The Lake" and the clever Flying Lizard/Foreigner references of "$" do much to advance the longevity of this record. Unfortunately, the band also stumbles its way over a common pitfall. The never-ending chaos on this record can be a bit much to take in at once; some of the weaker tracks could have been omitted in the interest of conciseness. Enthusiasm can be infectious, but this much sustained energy is hard on the mind and the ears. Maybe I'm just growing soft with age, but I was yearning for a reprieve halfway into this album.

Before I close things up, I have to comment on the production work on this record. This type of dynamic, frequently heavy music is like the double-diamond slope of the sound tech world, but the folks at Russian Recording have done an admirable job, striking a nice balance between polish and grime. However, the vocals are often a tad low in the mix, resulting in a perhaps not-completely-intentional basement vibe ("Pockets," for example, might have been a much more convincing moment of melody had the singing been given more prominence).

Still, Push-Pull should be congratulated for creating a lively, intense record with a lot to recommend it. They haven't rewritten the book of rock music, but they've made a type of record that deserves to be blasted through vast, hard-surfaced rooms.

push-pull's myspace

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 13 tracks, distributed by the label, released June 23, 2009]