Antietam CD review [Carrot Top]

Music Reviews
Antietam CD review [Carrot Top]
May 4, 2004, 17:08

ANTIETAM Victory Park CD

Music is crafted by different people for various reasons. Often they're reactive and with an obvious relation to their aesthetic environment, either imitative or contradictory. Very little is strictly personal and self-referential. Antietam's long-delayed (eight years) seventh album Victory Park is the exception to the rule. By no means revolutionary it certainly doesn't sound like anything else in contemporary music nor does it have any particularly significant antecedents.

The first aspect to strike the ear as odd is lead guitarist Tara Key's electric guitar tones. They're consistently distant, muted and coated in deep, cheap reverb. Her playing is prickly and obtuse and her choices in timbres underline its idiosyncrasy.

The songwriting is equally confounding in an unobtrusive—so all the more mysterious—fashion. Writing which is tuneful and rockin' but quietly avoids any received stylistic formats. It takes its cue from post-punk's first flush of rugged individuality as ethos, and without adopting any of the modes that said ethos generated at the time. Antietam cop the approach without buying into any predetermined punch-lines. There are points where Antietam indulge in many of the conventions of dream-pop—the open-ended, unresolved chord figures stacked in cantilevered, acutely angled progressions. But the restrained, very dry sound of same employs steers the end result into a realm all its own own.

And that's pretty much the story throughout Victory Park. Nowhere does Antietam seem to be trying to be different, but their quiet, fastidious detours around all received aesthetic wisdom achieves an end result that is powerfully unique without even trying [Carrot Top]

-Howard Wuelfing

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