Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

music Home > Record Reviews

Sound Tracks

Abe Vigoda: Skeleton

Abe Vigoda: Skeleton

Label:Post Present Medium
Release Date:2008

By Raven Baker | Posted 8/27/2008

At first listen, Abe Vigoda sounds a bit like fellow Los Angeles band No Age. Both go in for blasts of dreamy, thrashed pop shot through with subtle melancholy. Yet in marked contrast to No Age's ever-tightening, world-weary sound, Abe Vigoda's third, and latest, album Skeleton is propelled by a cacophonous urgency. Beneath the pretty wash of lo-fi pedal effects, chiming guitars, and singers Michael Vidal and Juan Velazquez's wavering, endearingly boyish harmonies--all near-dominated by constant drums--is a mighty drive toward pure noise, a not-quite-consuming dissolution.

Take, for example, standout "The Garden," whose first 30 seconds promise a melodic sweetness accented by birdlike chitters. Yet all pretensions of a pleasantly ordered English cottage garden are soon rent. The turtledove coos transform into primordial squawks befitting a bullish baby pterodactyl. And so the song goes, much like the album on the whole. Skeleton is dizzied, uneasy, swinging between moods with palpable frustration.

The band sounds incapable of long-sustaining anything, whether it be an emotion or song (the lengthiest clocks in at under four minutes, the shortest a mere 42 seconds). Within each track, almost too much goes on: snatches of a marching-band rhythm, plunking bass, and guitar flourishes shimmer and vanish into the murky ether as soon as the mind takes notice. There is something familiar and desperate at work here: The dense layering of sound is a frenzied attempt to stave off that most fearsome of adolescent bogeymen, boredom. And it works, not just for the young band sweating through these songs, but for the listener, too. Skeleton offers some new, if minute, discovery with each return.

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter