Lack and Pattern


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Lack and Pattern Review

by Stewart Mason

The third album by Chicago's Atombombpocketknife brings back the sound of mid-'90s post-rock so completely that at first, it's a shock to realize that the style had quietly disappeared by the end of that decade. These eight lengthy songs bring back memories of Shellac, Polvo, the For Carnation and June of 44 in the way they turn on a dime between sections of tricky time signatures, howling feedback, and surprising delicacy, but the foursome also manage something that even the best post-rockers occasionally had trouble with: turning these different musical passages into coherent songs. The best songs here, like "Shards CTA," with its unexpectedly lovely harmony vocals, and the slowly building "Flood" (supposedly inspired by an actual thunderstorm that flooded the group's home studio), exist as more than platforms for musical trickery. Even though singer-guitarist Justin Sinkovich's lyrics are just as obtuse as the band name and album title, he sings them in something other than the usual bored whisper. While not a perfect album -- a couple of the longer songs get bogged down in musical passages that are more unfocusd than hypnotic -- Lack and Pattern is Atombombpocketknife's best work yet, and a promising augur of even better to come.

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