Friday, September 14, 2007

Review: Towers of Hanoi - Paranoia for the New Year

Label: Barracuda Sound

Released: August 11, 2007

It seems odd that a band would mix something as generic as hard rock with something as unconventional as post-hardcore. Still, that's just what Towers of Hanoi do on their latest release, Paranoia for the New Year.

While most bands that dabble in the avant-garde seem embarrassed by any association to the formulas that make up popular music, Towers of Hanoi clue us in right at the start with 45 seconds of hard rock in "Intro." Once they get into the real songs, the hard rock elements remain evident even in the midst of the heady hardcore experimentation that follows. By the third track, "Danger! Danger! (jeune)," things are so off-kilter that there's no question that Paranoia for the New Year is writing its own formula. The album closing title track, starts of as an indie folk piece that moves back and forth between that and the straightforward rock that runs throughout (though by no means dominates) the album, finally finishing up with a mellow, unsettledness that leaves Towers of Hanoi firmly in the camp of the future, not the past.
This band doesn't make the mistake of striving for perfection. Instead, they're comfortable in their own skin. They're not too complicated, but go there as needed, not afraid of complexity, but not compelled to chase it either. It is as if the hard rock element is a dam that holds back a river of post-hardcore. The result is potential energy that can be released and curtailed at will. Anyone can just go all out and anyone can make weird music, but it takes something special to manage the music's energy and to make it standard in one sense and pretty weird in another.

Jon (Towers of Hanoi's drummer) lost his brother, Daniel, last year just before the band went into the studio. The whole band was close to him and they felt his presence during the recording, likely accounting for its passion and energy. They're taking one dollar from the sale of each CD and depositing into the Daniel's kids' bank accounts, so buy two copies now just in case you lose one!

Rating: 8/10




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Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

sounds cool, man!

1:43 PM  
Blogger taotechuck said...

Holy airplanes, Batman! The singer sounds kind of like Grace Slick, and the music is much more interesting than I was expecting.

1:14 PM  

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