Though Louisville math/post-rock pioneers Rodan were here and gone in an incredibly short time in the early '90s, there's good reason they're often referenced as an important and continually influential band of their era. Rodan itself existed in the classic early-'90s indie mold of the band who releases a single brilliant album and a handful of scattered tracks, but whose members would go on to produce some of the more revered independent music for decades to come with subsequent bands like June of '44, Rachel's, Come, the Shipping News, and in the case of bassist/vocalist Tara Jane O'Neil, a luminescent solo career among other projects. Each of these new entities became influential in their own right, and could be traced backwards to the young and isolated early Rodan days, where along with like-minded bands such as Slint and Drive Like Jehu, the band planted the seeds for what would become the next generation's music. Fifteen Quiet Years collects the scant remaining tracks from the band's miniscule but scattered discography, including three songs from a BBC session and several tracks released on the ever-popular early-'90s indie format of the compilation 7". All tracks were put to tape between 1992-1994, and it's easy to see the direct line between the tense dynamics and explosive guitar/drumming interplay of songs like "Sangre" or "Tron," and the scads of math rock and post-rock bands that would continue to pop up in the later part of the decade and on into the 2000s. The compositional skronk of the almost 11-minute long "Before the Train" seems indicative of trends that would come more into focus in the basement punk scenes of the Pacific Northwest with bands like Unwound or Karp, or east coast emo poets like Native Nod or Hoover. Rodan, much like their contemporaries in Slint, Shellac, or Codeine, existed in the shadows of a dying grunge movement, and their take on aggressive music lacked the histrionics and pandering of most of the acts enjoying their 15 minutes of angsty fame. Instead, their sole album, Rusty, and now Fifteen Silent Years, capture the sound of a young band blissfully oblivious to the world outside of them, trying ideas without self-consciousness or fear of consequences, and stumbling onto some sort of moody, secluded genius in the process. The compilation comes just one year after founding member Jason Noble's untimely cancer-related death, and reflecting on how much Noble accomplished post-Rodan in his 40 short years on the planet makes this document of youthful expression all the more poignant.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas