Slow Mass, Xerxes | Landland | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Slow Mass

Slow Mass

Madi Ellis

When: Sat., Oct. 8, 10 p.m. 2016
Price: $7
The posthardcore/emo boom of the late 90s and early 2000s probably appears much closer in the mirror than it actually is for many thirtysomethings, consequently making the by-comparisons easy and fun for those who have been paying attention to the upstarts currently offering homage to the giants of that era. On their debut six-song EP, Treasure Pains (Landland), local foursome Slow Mass glean from plenty of ’em—Fugazi, Hey Mercedes, Small Brown Bike, Sparta, Elliott, the list goes on—without being defined by those influences. This is mostly a result of the record’s tightness and supersolid production and the subtle magic with which the band’s wistfulness glows. Beginning with “Dark Dark Energy,” vocalist-guitarist Dave Collis shows off a keen—and perhaps underappreciated—ability to sound vulnerable and reflective within a sparse verse, but similarly vulnerable and reflective when the shit kicks in and he scuffs and gruffs his voice. “Bruce Lee” highlights how Slow Mass can make a melodic rock song technical without sounding convoluted (drummer Josh Sparks in particular deserves a tip of the hat), while bassist Mercedes Webb goes lead vocalist on “Clint Eastwood,” offering an unexpected transition from Collis that’s welcome regardless of whether you’re ready for it. For as full-bodied and well-rounded as Treasure Pains is—”Portals to Hell” being the truest single—I imagine a long player will be a pretty gutsy saga.
— Kevin Warwick

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