Them, Roaring Twenties CD review by Luc Rodgers

Music Reviews
Them, Roaring Twenties CD review by Luc Rodgers
Jun 3, 2008, 04:34



Chicago's Them, Roaring Twenties attempt to bend the lines between rock, jazz, and prog with great success as far as ability goes. Freshness of taste? Well, no. Just no.

Remember Cap'n Jazz? Clean, smooth-jazz-y guitars swirl and pluck and change faster than the mind wants to while the singer plays with words as a child with jacks. Others are, seemingly, hopping on the bandwagon, for better or worse. For the better, it seems natural (Joan of Arc, ex-Cap'n Jazz's Tim Kinsella's project, remains at the forefront of Just-Shut-Up-Already-But-I-Still-Listen-Post-Rock) and with others, a little forced (Appleseed Cast just won't die). Them, Roaring Twenties (why the comma?) fall somewhere in between.

Their ability is evident (check out “Fast Acting Nite-Nite Spray With Realistic Uncle Beard”) but, as with bread, music listeners cannot live on lick-ability alone. Sure, the noodling is impressive and the time changes something well practiced, it is merely the need for more of this that furrows the brow. Post-rock with bite? Try Don Caballero. Post-rock with taste and ability walking side-by-side? Listen to the entire Tortoise catalogue.

The packaging, like the music, is ludicrous. What appears to be a box set on the caliber of Camper Van Beethoven's Cigarettes and Carrot Juice – The Santa Cruz Years, but with a pixilated, Max Headroom-esque vomit-puddle of saturation. Why so thick? Well, it's not the music, which totals nearly twenty-four minutes. Surprise! What's included is a board game! You can go to all the Chicago hipster spots such as, but not limited to: Electrical Audio (Steve Albini's Studio), Sultan's Market (where superior Greek food is made more so by the low cost), and the Empty Bottle (legendary rock club). The kitsch value is so much that they should've also included a fold-out gift shop for ironic T-shirts, Jim O'Rourke key-chains, and “Chicago is Post-Everything” stickers.

Their goal is blurry, as is everything else about them. If they are on some tip that everyone else is missing, then congrats. In reality, though, this is simply deplorable. [Sickroom]

-Luc Rodgers


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