First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2006, Volume 13, #9
Written by John Metzger
Name an indie rock group with experimental inclinations — Yo La Tengo, Pavement, The Flaming Lips, The Fiery Furnaces, or Arcade Fire, for example — and its influence is certain to surface within Bound Stems’ work, which also manages to incorporate more than a few nods to David Bowie’s glam days. Holding the biggest sway over the ensemble, however, is fellow Chicago-based outfit Wilco. Throughout Appreciation Night, Bound Stems’ full-length debut, the cigarette-stained voice of front man Bobby Gallivan conveys the same weariness as Jeff Tweedy, and for all of the strangely disorienting textures that it applies to its material, there are pop-oriented melodies that lie at the heart of each of its songs. Full of shifting dynamics and jittery rhythms, the collective’s noisy garage-rock captures the restless, edgy energy of modern, urban living, while its lyrics ruminate intelligently upon issues of life and love. What initially seems like a wildly successful endeavor, however, soon reveals itself to be a tad formulaic. After peaking with the delightfully variegated Excellent News, Colonel, Appreciation Night’s nonsensical aural collages become distracting, and the frequent tempo fluctuations of its off-kilter grooves grow wearisome. Although the ambitiousness of Appreciation Night undoubtedly will help the band to become the darling of the indie rock scene, Bound Stems isn’t ready yet to make a Wilco-sized splash. ˝
Appreciation Night is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box