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HI RED CENTER – Architectural Failures (Pangaea Recordings CD)

Posted: May 7th, 2006, by Simon Minter

With its stabbed guitar lines, ramshackle drumming and freaked-out stop-start rhythmic structure, Architectural Failures’ opening track suggests that this is an album of yet more of the post-everything angular indie rock that is so goddamn hip right now. Then it goes off in a weird direction, with spooked chant-a-long lyrics and atonal synthesised drones forcing a wedge between the traditions. And so it goes on, introducing odd new aspects to what could just have stayed a good, but uninspiring set of songs. The vibraphone used on a large part of the album is a welcome and refreshingly ‘trad’ sound, adding a joyous twist to songs like Magic Teeth and Oskar which evokes that beautifully warm early-Tortoise sound. I don’t know too much about Hi Red Center but to my mind they’re more jazz than rock – more Soft Machine than Doors, if you will – and their music is more about crafting musical shapes than pummelling out rock familiarities. In the same way that a band like Liars arrive at a good place by travelling along a tortuous, complicated, frustrating but worthwhile journey, Hi Red Center don’t seem afraid to open themselves up to new ideas.

Hi Red Center
Pangaea Recordings

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


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