Choose Your Own Adventure

The Long Defeat

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Tense instrumental underground guitar rock is the keynote style on this shortish (33-minute) sophomore album by Choose Your Own Adventure. The six tracks aren't groundbreaking, but they do record a band that's capable of playing tight, sinister riffs with rhythmic stretches and contractions, at times hinting at grindcore, at others getting into serene (though never quite light) spaces. Refreshingly, it's not all teeth-clenched tension, occasionally venturing into unruffled, oh-so-slightly bluesy grooves. "Progress Report" has an almost sleepy, loping tone, for instance, but the heavy bass twang and muted but searing fuzz textures keep it far from float-to-relax territory. There are some slightly jazzy melodic flourishes in that tune and elsewhere as well, and "Boat, Wave, Walker" almost approximates a waves-lapping-on-the-shore calmness with its interwoven easygoing guitar and accordion. But the core of the music is usually edgy in character, like those of watchmen who aren't able to let down their guard.

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