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The Chicago Sound

Plexiglass Cube EP
(Hefty Records)

Since the post rock explosion a couple years back, there have been tons of bands that fall into the category and Chicago has sort of become the default city for the explosion, launching Tortoise, Jim O'Rourke, Gastr Del Sol, Isotope 217, and others. While not everyone technically falls directly into the category and lots of groups are sort of pushing the boundaries of the genre into new and exciting places.

Ilium is one of those bands who play very technically tight post rock songs, but there doesn't seem to be anything on this Plexiglass Cube EP that reaches out and grabs you. Sure, Tortoise doesn't always reach out and grab you, but they at least pull you in most of the time with an interesting combination of sounds or a catchy hook. Ilium plays like sort of a cross between a more organic Tortoise with a smidge of Tristeza in them and while they have the twitchy tempo and smooth instrumental thing down, there just aren't enough dynamics in the 5 untitled tracks to be a really involved listen.

Of all the tracks on the disc, perhaps the most persuasive is the 3rd track that bounds all over the place with a lead bass. It sounds somewhat halfhazard and reckless, but it's a nice break from the almost mathematical precision of the other tracks. In fact, the last three tracks on the disc all stack up better than the somewhat languid first two, simply because there are some different combinations tried out.

By the time the slower closing track has played, the 30 minute mini-album has come full-circle again and drops nicely back into the first if put on repeat. In fact, one of the nice things about the disc is that it's so unobtrusive. The songs are written well and catchy in a few spots, but the album (and it might be somewhat the fault of leaving everything untitled and unmarked) just sort of runs together. Of course, if that's what you're looking for, snag this one up quick.

Rating: 5.5