Philadelphia duo Writhing Squares achieve maximum aggravation on their third album | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Philadelphia duo Writhing Squares achieve maximum aggravation on their third album 

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click to enlarge Kevin Nickles and Daniel Provenzano make music as the Writhing Squares.

Kevin Nickles and Daniel Provenzano make music as the Writhing Squares.

Courtesy the Artist

Many rock ’n’ roll duos deal with economy of one sort or another. In the case of Philadelphia group Writhing Squares, it’s not a matter of compensating for thin arrangements: woodwind player Kevin Nickles and electric bassist and rhythm programmer Daniel Provenzano both sing and play synthesizers as well, and they can make so much noise on their own that there’s rarely room or need for other musicians. The overblown sax and ultracoarse fuzz of “Geisterwaltz,” from the new double album Chart for the Solution, sound as big and mean as the Funhouse-era Stooges might have if they’d been willing to tackle 3/4 time. Chart for the Solution is littered with references to a rock ’n’ roll canon that’s long on pugnacious attitude: Dick Dale, Suicide, Neu!, Roxy Music. But Writhing Squares also make canny use of textural contrasts—such as the succinct, airy flute solo that bisects the butt-rocking “The Abyss Is Never Brighter”—to make their punches land even harder. On previous releases, the band sometimes lost their way when they stretched out, but on Chart for the Solution the opposite is true; three songs last between eight and 18 minutes, and the pacing of each epic keeps you hanging on to see just what’ll happen next.   v

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