…To Their Own Rhythm
Though certain moments from Human Hand, Animal Band conjure memories of OK Computer and Kid A Radiohead, and other moments resemble the wandering atmosphere that is characteristic of All Night Radio, it is difficult to compare Rhythm of Black Lines’ sound to anything with much accuracy. This prog-rock band has a unique and innovative sound that has appropriately earned it a spot on Omar Rodriguez’s (The Mars Volta) label, Gold Standard Laboratories.
HHAB opens with the droning and unmemorable “Tooth,” but it bounces back immediately with “One Red Eye.” Its seedy-sounding horns serve as the album’s true beginning, and when the track unrolls to its full eight-plus minutes, so too does the band’s musical expansiveness. Throughout their latest endeavor, Rhythm of Black Lines skillfully employs strings, horns, and keyboards to create a dense, busy feel that avoids sounding overdone or unnecessary. Tim O’Neill’s confident drumming bursts through the surfaces of track after track, acting as a stabilizing element that keeps most songs from collapsing under the weight of their creative jaunts. While HHAB certainly stacks most of its emphasis on instrumentation like their last album, Set a Summary Table, on tracks like “Dark Mountain” and the first part of “PJS,” Clint Newsom’s vocals are a successful compliment.
Aside from the first track, the only other sore spot on the album is the six-minute instrumental, melatonin-inducing, and aptly-titled “Thames Yawner.” While at times it seems that Rhythm of Black Lines lingers just a bit too long on a song, repeat listens will stifle these suspicions. HHAB is an intriguing album that will leave you wondering what these fellows from Austin, Texas will churn out next.