Collections Of Colonies Of Bees Birds

[Table of the Elements/Radium; 2008]

Styles: somewhat ad-hoc post-rock?
Others: Pele, Raccoons, Telecognac, Battles, Lightbox Orchestra, Boris Hauf, Tortoise

Jon Mueller's long history of indie-rock activities -- from Pele to solo work to his influential label, Crouton -- demands attention, especially if instrumentals are your cup of tea. He's taken his oft-impromptu drum work to places few percussionists dare, often obscuring the source of his sounds and has consistently pumped new material into the core of outsider indie-rock.

Mueller's recent solo release, Metals, didn't achieve much besides a minor slot in a legendary canon of work. Fortunately, the new Collections Of Colonies Of Bees record, Birds, doesn't fall into the same buzzkill bin. It's a decent record. However, considering that it's springing from the creative womb of such a formidable band, I expected a less traditional take on... that genre I refuse to name (at least within the review itself). That said, Birds doesn't suffer a whole lot from being grounded.

Mueller's drumming holds the key to the entire assault, and it's next-level. He uses his unusual, repetitive rhythms to give longtime guitarist/collaborator Chris Rosenau and baritone guitarist Dan Spack plenty of time to figure out the road they want to take with their six strings. Their conclusion shimmers with surety only experience can bring. It's all about serving the song -- no pyrotechnics, just five musicians locking horns and refusing to let go until the groove is thoroughly spent.

One-fourth of Birds, "Flocks III," strikes sweet, shining gold using this formula. THIS is what I would like, er, ost-ock to sound like more often. "Flocks IV" doesn't build tension as effectively, but it's all fun and games until someone gets bored. I reached that point around the seven-minute mark. Counting down from the top, "Flocks II" is another solid number, holding strong to the sonic template heard throughout, while "Flocks I" is an underwhelming introductory track with little besides lead-in value to warrant its inclusion.

Three out of four ain't bad, but Collections Of Colonies Of Bees have hit at higher percentages in the past.

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