“Lounge Music For Punks”; no. Alternative music with strong ties to Radiohead and Jane’s Addiction, yes. Beginning their disc with “Outstamp”, an over-distorted track that has hints of “Street Spirit” in it, a mess of two and three voices that really doesn’t get far off the group, especially with the 60s-influenced guitar work in the bridge. The odd time-signature and squeaky, Incubus-esque vocals of Ben van der Poorten during the follow up track, “Pole & Hook” mesh well with the wanky-guitars but still leave listeners with a sense of not going anywhere. After two false starts, Idioverse really starts to get somewhere with their “Red Buzzer”, a track that puts Athos’ strong bass lines at direct contrasts to the higher range of Ben’s voice. However, the overly-crunchy nature of the CD is maintained even through that sound, creating a drone to the entire disc that really detracts from the CD itself.
The interplay between the dark guitars and Ben’s vocals on “Red Buzzer” is something that should not be overlooked; the two demarcate two completely different paths, with Ben’s voice reaching for the upper echelons of the stratosphere while the guitar plows into the deep loam. The pitch-shifting of Ben’s voice on “Steam Whistle” is more than a little disconcerting with the tinsel-sound of the guitars falling all among eir. Moving farther into the ethereal side of things with “Fur”, using a monk-like drone for the majority of the track, Ben seems over-bearing in a track that affords eir very little in the way of instrumental accompaniment. After moving into wordless vocals, Ben gets some idea what ey should be doing with the track, and as a result, “Fur” ends on a stronger note than it started.
Idioverse is a band that takes all the advances in alterative and hard rock and mixes them together to make something that is different from what is currently out. While there are a number of moments in which they falter, the fact is that Idioverse is going along that path that is much less traveled. The spiraling nature of “Thin Walls” is the perfect way to end a disc, losing all control of instruments and voices until the system cannot bear the strain for any longer. Idioverse does their style of music well, but I could not see them doing it in any other ways. If the band can break out from this sound on subsequent records, I would have to say that I would be amazed.
Top Track: Thin Walls
Idioverse – Demo / 2004 Self – Released / 6 Songs / http://www.idioverse.com/ / Reviewed 30 March 2004 /