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There Were Wires
Iodine Recordings

Musically, I appreciate a lot of hardcore bands for their washes of dark ambience, rhythmic intensity, and experimental song structures, but what keeps me from loving hardcore is the vocals. I like screaming, but after a while you're being bludgeoned by shrieking and the music itself is getting lost in the shuffle. Plus, there's the matter of screaming being screaming, no matter who you are, so unless you truly have a unique and kick-ass scream or can slay with a single note in those softer, sung moments, you're pretty much indistinguishable from the next guy/girl.

That said, I find myself kinda digging Somnambulists, the last offering from Boston's late There Were Wires. This is thirty minutes of thick, unsettling, dark music, largely carried by bassist Jebb Riley's insistent lines, which keep the songs firmly rooted to the ground in a fighter's stance as guitarists Don Belcastro and Thomas Moses weave a crazy underwater dirge. And, being a hardcore record, there's plenty of screaming to be had from Jaime Mason, who does so honorably, if not altogether engagingly, to these ears. "Walking" is definitely a standout, showcasing those aforementioned song structures, and its companion "Get Cryptic" is claustrophobic in its urgency.

If I had to find a main complaint about the record, it would be the flatness of the drums, which seems to have little to do with drummer Ryan Begley and everything to do with the recording itself. There seems to be no give or reverberation, each beat threatening to get swallowed by the maelstrom of noise it's attempting to underscore.

Interestingly, "His Talk, Her Teeth" is mentioned in the liner notes as having been inspired by Katherine Dunn's Geek Love, an essential read. The song is a brief and brutal ode that, somehow, makes a lot of sense to anyone familiar with the novel's beautiful and bizarre circumstances...even if you can barely understand what's being sung.

Overall, not bad, and it's rather nice not to be assaulted with the normal blood-and-guts imagery that seems to be a requisite for a lot of hardcore. Even if this is not your thing, there's something buried in it for you. Give it a shot.

- Heather Space

Track Listing:

1. New Doom
2. His Talk, Her Teeth
3. Walking
4. Get Cryptic
5. Waking
6. Black Magic Rabbit
7. Gasp


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