steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Stationary Odyssey

"Sons of Boy" CD

Joyful Noise

Genre: instrumental rock, post-rock, indie rock

Evansville, IN

November 2009

Stationary Odyssey is growing better with each release. Their last album, 2006's Head! Foot! and the Pink Axe, was a spellbinding doozy of a record, and Sons of Boy quickly asserts itself as a worthy successor.

Like Head! Foot!, this record is a characteristic epic, one that can be alternately sinister and triumphant, extravagant and sober. Aaron Tanner and Brett Siler have constructed an impressive instrumental album here, and in the absence of vocals, it's the twang, crash, and roll of guitars that do the talking. Notably, the duo has put forth a more eclectic affair here than in the past. They begin the record with a characteristic Explosions in the Sky-inspired opus in "Ghost Moth," with its builds and iconic crescendos, but from then on things get less focused. "Torticline" and superb "Neon Seals" boast the chunky guitar chimes of Unwound indie rock of yore, while "Chunk Feeder Blues" dips into sweltering, yes, blues, whereas pensive "Brand of Shame" is lush and refreshingly distortion-free. Meanwhile "Cherry Teeth (Baby Got)" and "Rib Letters" wander into more freeform territory, although the latter is the album's unfortunate sinker.

With Sons of Boy, Tanner and Siler have secured their spot as purveyors of solid, approachable instrumental rock. Whereas many similar bands become lost in drawn-out climaxes and guitar convolutions, Stationary Odyssey construct their compositions with a respect for the listener. These songs vary in their influences, and none exceeds seven minutes, making for a consistently engaging result. In turn, few instrumental albums keep me hitting 'play' as often as I have with Sons of Boy.

stationary odyssey's myspace

From 2006's Head! Foot! and the Pink Axe:

Michael Tau

[Vitals: 8 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2009]