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And This Army – Foe

English shoegazing meets NeurIsis heaviness – the typical result would be buried vocals, but Brendan McDermott’s soaring singing is this band’s trump card. The songwriting is a little undisciplined (either give me the perfect three-minute song or go the whole 10-minute distance), but the tension is interesting. Song or sound? Why not both, see Swervedriver.

The Ghost of Johnny’s Pizza

I’m curious how And This Army sounds live, since McDermott is its only guitarist. At times, I found myself wishing for more high-end information, but maybe with enough pedals and amps, the overtones are enough. With the guitar sketching out harmonic clouds, the bass takes up the melodies with assertive tones. The rhythm section uncorks some nice post-punk rhythms; the overall attack reminds me at times of Shudder to Think’s Funeral at the Movies.

What’s up with the strange, Gauguin-esque cover art (by Ben Partrick)? The lyrics come from a “rock songwriting” angle, and it’s refreshing for me (as a “metal guy”) to see narrative and play with language. This Brooklyn band has intriguing ingredients, so I’m excited to hear it hone them. In the meantime, you can find Foe (self-released, 2006) at the band’s website.

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