We Are the Same Machine
The Frequency is a prime example of a current band that is taking advantage of our brave new postmillennial tour circuit, where neo-wave/dancepunk, post-rave electronica, hippie-jam rock and indie post-rock acts appear side by side at festivals like Bonnaroo or Coachella.
Each entry on the Los Angeles band's full-length debut, We Are the Same Machine, taps into varied elements of The Frequency's musical background. The kicker vocal track, "Raindrop," reincarnates Pink Floyd, and the Quaaludey vocals of Alex Stiff invite comparisons to David Gilmour and maybe Thom Yorke. But before you despair about sitting through yet another Radiohead ripoff, the band whips out the floor-filling dance beats with "chinka-chinka" guitars and pulsing bass, while string-patch atmospherics soar oh-so-gently overhead on "All the Time" and "Talk to Me."
But this album's definitely not just for Williamsburg wannabees. The Frequency mines a prog-rock vein, breaking into a 7/8 rhythm on "Carbon People," and when the synth arpeggiations float skyward on "Rare Sleep," you can imagine 55-year-old "Echoes" listeners perking up their ears. "End of the World Part II" is a propulsive, uplifting space-rock anthem that's part Spiritualized and part darkly-tinged post-punk revivalism a la Interpol.
The main drawback is that the proceedings are so mellow and lush that they lack bite, relying heavily on a throwback Floydian feel, as if little has happened since then. And my objection to the bandying-about of "experimental rock" to describe bands like The Frequency is that there is not much experimentation going on. Instead, the group coolly and competently blends established musical undercurrents for power and effect. So if you're looking for a band to blast you off into space and take you on a cosmic journey, The Frequency will fit the bill, but don't expect it to discover any uncharted solar systems.
The Frequency with The Sexes, Thee Adora and The Picture. 8 p.m. Fri., June 27. Mr. Small's Theatre, 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $8. All ages. 412-821-4447 or www.mrsmalls.com