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Stutter Stutter Stepping

Self-Titled EP
(Hefty Records)

The whole 'post rock' definition has gotten thrown around a great deal in the past couple years and while it was something that I felt was a great term at the outset, it's become a bit sticky since that time. The main reason for my feelings about that is because like most genres when they're more at their outset, terms work well, but as soon as they start splintering off more and more, the one blanket term just seems silly after awhile. It's like calling all electronic music "electronica" or "techno," it just doesn't really cut it.

Chisel.Drill.Hammer is a group that I would probably still drop into that 'post rock' category, despite my above little rant, mainly because they're a four-piece instrumental group with 2 guitar/bass/drums instrumentation. That being said, they are quite a bit different than even someone like their labelmates Ilium. While many groups in the whole genre seem bent on stretching out songs into wondrous affairs and exploring grooves and further and further breakdowns and/or variations on them, Chisel.Drill.Hammer is more down and dirty. This 8 song EP only runs 18 minutes long and the longest song on here only barely cracks the 3 minute mark.

Another difference is that this group plays much more angular tunes. While they lock into something once in awhile, they're more of a shifting entity, and even though their songs run a lot shorter than normal, they still manage to change things up even more than most bands. They'll be going in one direction for awhile, then completely shift around and start going in another, with moments where it sounds like more of a mess than anything else. While there are a couple tracks that focus on melody (and do a fine job of it), most of the tracks on the release seem more concerned with tension and release, as well as doing things unexpected. In a way, they sort of remind me of a slightly more structured version of Storm and Stress with a bit of A Minor Forest thrown in for good measure (minus all the screaming).

While the production on the release leaves nothing to be desired (chalk it up to Steve Albini), and the actual music on the disc is well performed, I find it really hard to get into the release overall. I'm not sure whether it's because the songs are so abrupt or because they're just so short that once I start getting into something that it ends, but for some reason it just doesn't grab me. If you have a short attention span and like off-kilter arrangements, it might be for you, otherwise seek out someone else.

Rating: 5