Problem of Alarming Dimensions

H-Hov-Hover

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When instrumental music manifests itself inside indie rock, it's often as a means of concentrating firepower on mood expansion and melodic exploration. Even when a singer is about, indie music is intent on growing a feeling, and giving each instrument its due. From Tortoise to Explosions in the Sky to the amplified crescendos of Godspeed You Black Emperor!, this kind of music is trying to take you to a place where words aren't the strongest currency. North Carolina-based Problem of Alarming Dimensions are building a bus to get there too, using guitars, bass, drums, random electronics, samples, a trombone (?), and the occasional vocal nonsensical. (Being nonsensical, it might as well be another instrument.) There's some of Polvo's guerilla prog in their music, like the way "Be Kind. Rewind" wraps its spidery guitar leads around atmosphere, only to shift into a few measures of tense cohesion. "Driving in Unison" and "We Prefer Luciferian" travel in a different, planar direction. Instead of switching between two or three succinct parts, they begin as grasslands with each instrumental blade defined -- a plaintive guitar pluck, bursts of static, subtle brushes cymbals and toms. But as the camera recedes, those blades become a field, swaying as one, and more powerful because of it. The mood is slightly anxious, but tranquil; the melodies expand and contract like contours of wind through the fields. You might say the extended overture ending to "Subsidies for Our Favorite Killer" is played out. And maybe it has been, inside this corner alley of instrumental indie stuff. But that doesn't mean it can't still be done powerfully. Besides, who doesn't love the spooky moan of air raid sirens? Problem of Alarming Dimensions obviously do, as they mix them into the background of the song. H-Hov-Hover isn't going to change anyone's world view, but it's debatable whether any instrumental music can, no matter how critically acclaimed it might be. This stuff is for letting the mind wander, guided only by a thread spool of melody. On that tip, these guys are the Weavers with their mouths taped shut.

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