Chicago’s Cardinal Harbor dip their toes in experimental indie rock with Vulture Hottub | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Chicago’s Cardinal Harbor dip their toes in experimental indie rock with Vulture Hottub 

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click to enlarge Cardinal Harbor

Cardinal Harbor

Britt McCreary

The six members of Chicago’s Cardinal Harbor formed an indie-rock band in 2011, after meeting as students at Wheaton College. On their 2013 debut, Faces on Parade, they made popped-collar roots rock and wore their affection for Dave Matthews on their proverbial sleeves, but they’ve since drifted toward more experimental fare. From the sound of their new, self-released fourth album, Vulture Hottub, I’d say they’ve been paying close attention to Bon Iver’s more provocative recent material. Whether due to or in spite of that influence, Cardinal Harbor spend much of the album exploring their own musical path, cutting through the brush of indie-rock cliche by borrowing from math rock and midwestern emo and even adding a touch of hip-hop. On the single “Trong,” guitarist and front man Spencer McCreary submerges his bluesy voice in AutoTune while a knotty, crystalline keyboard melody and a sparse but muscular drumbeat punch up his subtly wrenching delivery.   v

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