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Monday, December 15, 2008

CD Review: Microtia - Distance is Oval

Microtia - Distance is Oval
2007 Exigent Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.



Here's one that slipped through the cracks from earlier this year and desperately needs a rescue...

I love an album that presents so much of a challenge to describe it that you almost feel tempted to simply utter a singular superlative such as "exquisite" or "emotional" or "proficient."

Lemme tell you something, there's something truly special going on in Portland, Oregon because it seems there's a new eclectic rock wonder trickling out from that region at least every other month, if not every one.

Let me see if I can get some appropriate comparables for you and let that suffice as a description: how about some Mouth of the Architect, some At the Drive-In, some Catherine Wheel, some Radiohead, some Sonic Youth and a few shades of Botch, Refused and Kitchens of Distinction? Sound good?

It damn well should, because Microtia is one the hottest indie rock and metal bands you've probably never heard of. How this band isn't lighting up the entire country, much less the northern hemisphere with their sonic grandeur is beyond comprehension. Am I guilty of being an overenthusiastic rock geek critic? Absolutely, but if what I'm saying here makes me thus, let tape up the center bridge of my glasses just to make the point.

Simply put, Distance is Oval is one of the most urgent EPs to come along in years. They say some bands have only the cost and effort of an EP with which to decide their fates. If said position is true, Microtia damn well ought to be controlling their future with the superlative art distortion they produce on "Organ Harvest," much less the spaced-out guitar pods jettisoning from the core rhyhtm on "Stay Down."

Each one of these songs are sculpted with admirable patience and detail. They've been labeled by some folks as "shoegazer rock." I can get the inference since Distance is Oval is enough to stop you in your tracks and concentrate with a haze in your ears as to what Microtia is doing, just for the attention-grabbing intro to "Ligature Signature" with ear-tugging sequencers, some snazzy snare and high hat trickery and aquatic guitar lines that propel into a Radiohead-heavy ascension that bequeaths nearly-intense crescendos. And "The Pluto Revival?" People, you're going to be collapsing in exhiliration by this overtly impressive outpour of guitar threading.

Distance is Oval is going to move you on the first play, don't worry about that. The thing is, your subsequent spins are going to be in an effort to grasp and assimilate all that Microtia expounds even at a decidedly mid-tempo pace all the way. Any faster than this and we surely would've had information overload.

Beautiful work, to say the least...

Rating: ****1/2

2 comments:

cjk_44 said...

intringuing, that's for sure.

so how do i get my grubby hands on my own copy?

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

lol, I know they have a solid MySpace page you can check out...enjoy, dude...lemme know if you have any problems