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Akathisia Review

by Ned Raggett

Perhaps everyone and their mothers -- assuming the moms were into such things -- were indeed raving endlessly about post-rock in all its supposed forms throughout much of the '90s, instead of that seeming like an involved indie rock dream. Where Hovercraft fits into all this isn't so much in style and scene as it is in direct participation -- if not quite as freaked out as, say, Main -- the trio on Akathisia did a fantastic job of whipping up five dark, engrossing instrumentals that avoided any pretense of commercial acceptance. The inclusion of drummer Dave gave the group a touch more traditional rock punch without otherwise sounding too traditional, though he does have an ear for the steady post-psych tribal drumming doom approach that must have scared a few folks taking bong hits in 1972. One can almost audibly hear the three members testing each other out with their experiments; jam sessions turned into creepy alien soundtracks, the end descendants of everyone and everything from Ash Ra Tempel and instrumental Pink Floyd to Joy Division, and even Wire at its most unsettled-but-calm. Perhaps by default Ryan is the most openly exploratory member; while the rhythm section finds its own paces and subtle rhythm shifts, Ryan freaks out in his own way, wailing guitars shooting up, down, and all around, with mixed brief, repetitive parts that obsessively focus on rhythm as well. But he doesn't dominate, and indeed Beth Liebling and Dave are often the most prominent in the mix -- consider "Angular Momentum" and its steady, just doomy enough crawl forward towards the end. "Haloparidol" plays around with some Arabic scales here and there to attractive effect, while "De-Orbit Burn" is a killer ending for the album, with some seriously noisy feedback damage from Ryan and Liebling throughout.

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