The Boston-based trio known as E consists of guitarist Thalia Zedek (Come, Uzi, Live Skull), guitarist Jason Sidney Sanford (Neptune), and drummer Gavin McCarthy (Karate), all veterans of various indie, noise rock, and experimental music scenes. Their work together is sharp, tight, and tense, with weary, intimate vocals over minimalist yet angular arrangements. As part of Neptune, Sanford is known for constructing homemade instruments out of scrap metal and other found objects. He does so with this band, but the music is far less noisy and post-industrial than Neptune. The songs are more focused and direct, with all three members singing and combining their powers into a common vision. Zedek's vocals are reminiscent of Patti Smith, while Sanford has a shaky, nervous tone that almost approaches sounding like a less hyper Jello Biafra. McCarthy sings too, and he has the most forceful voice of all, particularly on the politically charged "Candidate," during which he ends up yelling "I could be the president, and now I'm running for president!" Fittingly, the album was released during the same week as the 2016 United States presidential election. Other tracks voice additional societal concerns, such as "I Want to Feel Good," during which Zedek sings of immigration issues while Sanford repeats a self-help mantra under his breath. Another one of the album's most powerful moments is the Mission of Burma-like "Fissure," which features Zedek proclaiming a state of failure and destruction. With their debut album, E create urgent music for chaotic, uncertain times.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson