The Double | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Double 

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When I first heard the Double's "Idiocy"--the supercatchy single from last year's Loose in the Air (Matador)--the band's name struck me as appropriate. Like a Swiss army knife with a thumb drive, the quartet's chief attribute is making a somewhat forced, somewhat incongruous flexibility work: you got your sweet melodies, particularly David Greenhill's naturally pretty voice but also the frolicking organ parts, and you got your skull-piercing guitar noise. A cynic might say Matador's pulling an indie version of a Top 40 strategy, grooming an act whose massive, testosterone-spraying choruses appeal to the guys, but whose emotive verses reveal a sensitive front man for the ladies--Death Cab and Noxagt rolled into one. I was more suspicious of the band "doing everything right": recording at Tarquin Studios (to mod NYC hopefuls what United Western Recorders was to the mid-60s LA pop set), scoring a Peel session before their big signing, and touring with Interpol. (Paul Banks calls the Double "a sledgehammer to the frozen lake of the mind," which is yet another reason he needs to be bitch slapped.) But the Double's strong songwriting trumps my extramusical concerns: they've made a balanced, varied album whose melodies could weather string sections, gospel choirs, or any other gimmicky alternatives to guitar mayhem you can think of. "Ripe Fruit" and "Hot Air" are moody and slow but hooky, and the epic noise orgy of "Dance" shows they know how to exit a shitstorm gracefully, which is the hard part. Mazarin headlines and Magnus opens. Fri 3/10, 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10.

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