Taking the name Wow & Flutter in the late 90's from a term for analog tape fluctuation, frontman Cord Amato revels in imperfections. The band's current lineup solidified around 2006 with Amato rounded out by Jack Houston on drums and Ryan Matheson on bass and keyboard.
Their new album, Equilibrio!(Italian for balance), finds the trio crawling into a much darker space than 2008's critically lauded Golden Touch. Maintaining the diversity of its predecessor, the album sounds bleak but not brooding... it's as if the band is celebrating scuzzy defects and enjoying their time wallowing in the mire.
Amato is often quoted as saying "You're only as old as you rock" and I'm happy to say that if Golden Touch was a snotty punk in his early 20's, Equilibrio! is a musician that's settled into his own skin; one that's comfortable, confident and well aware of how to calculate their anger instead of exploding at the world.
The resulting eight songs veer from Omnichord-based fairytale spookiness, Spacemen 3 gospel-drone and a touch of Krautrock. Beyond that, the band steadily maintain their fuzzed-out caveman pummeling drenched in taut hums and wreaking of burnt wires and blown speakers.
"The Puget Sound" kicks the album off with the proper amount of weirdness, distortion and groove. Cord Amato's voice mumbles into the mic, "Scratches on the skin of memory, reminding us how fragile life can be." kicking off the second track ("Scars") with a hint of off-handed, disshevelled adulthood. "Someone Save Me" coyly reminds us to always laugh before you cry.
Good advice, don't you think? Slashing guitars and writhing bass lines dance staccato over a squalling backdrop of rhythm and crashed cymbals on "Mechanical Kill" before it outros to an icy, metallic coo. That coo carries on, robotically lulling you, straight into the epic album closer, "The Day Before The World Explodes" which reaches it's peak with Cord bellowing "this ain't no long goodbye" over and over and begging us to celebrate the best we have because it won't last long.
Equilibrio! plays out as a triumphant kiss off to the world, balancing restless exasperation with coded love letters to the anonymous. Nab it from Mt. Fuji Records on October 19th!