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A Story In White

A Story In White
(Matador Records)

Just who the hell does Aerogramme think that they are anyway? Spawned out of the ashes of the Glasgow band Ganger (and labelmates with Arab Strap and Mogwai), the trio lights things up on this 13 track by throwing just about every genre out there. The album starts out with a thundering blast of what sounds like speed death metal before barreling through tracks that touch on post rock, chamber rock, punk, introspective acoustic, and even glorified emo.

One thing is certain about A Story In White, and that's that it will most likely keep you guessing as to what's coming next. Sure, everyone's been doing the quiet to loud and back again thing that it's no longer really that much of a surprise, but Aerogramme varies instrumentation enough (and most often times sound much more epic than a three piece) along with the the tracks themselves that you may find yourself headbanging for one track while passionately singing the touching chorus of the next.

It's the aforementioned opening track of "The Question Is Complete" that gets the album rocking out of the gates. It starts with a blast before quieting down for more contemplative verses and again busting loose with squalling guitars for the chorus. While the formula is almost the same (quiet-loud) "Post-Tour, Pre-Judgement," the group again manages to make things work even better than the opener. The chorus of the track is so damn thick and epic (with swirling guitars, keyboards, and pummeling drums) that when it combines with the light vocals (and later on screams) of Craig B, it sounds like the bastard child of emo and hardcore, but is so so nice.

Instead of trying to keep that same intensity going, the group drops off into two quieter tracks, and both the piano touched lo-fi "Egypt" and pretty keyboards in "Hatred." The first single from the album is the equally Jeckle and Hyde "Zionist Timing," which builds up to a screaming, throttling crescendo before dropping off into what sounds like almost a completely different track for the closing two minutes of quiet guitar ambience. As if they didn't make their range abundantly clear, the group then sticks the songs "Sunday" (backed by a string quartet and acoustic guitar) and "Shouting For Joey" (quite possibly the hardest song on the album, with vocals that never go below the shouting level brought forth by the song title).

As said above, A Story In White is a varied album, but not so much that it feels like it's stretching its boundaries too much. I could honestly see anyone from a fan of Sunny Day Real Estate to Mogwai finding more than many things in the album to like, yet the group really doesn't sound like either of the above. Combining both the tracks from the UK release of the album and the entire UK White Paw EP into the one release, it's also a solid portion of music that clocks in at over an hour. For when you can't decide what mood you're in, but you're feeling passionate about something, this is an excellent disc to have playing.

Rating: 7.5