Art Institute, First in a series of audio demonstrations

Art Institute, First in a series of audio demonstrations

Let’s be up-front about it: if you’re looking for polish, Art Institute’s First in a series of audio demonstrations doesn’t have it. Not much of it, at least. In fact, the band consciously seems to shy away from today’s hyperproduced sounds, in favor of a grittier, low-to-the-ground, DIY sound that recalls the early days of Stateside punk rock, when everybody was still feeling their way along.

The songs follow suit, too, particularly opener “Taleb’s Curve,” which is a snottily apathetic, jagged-edged chunk of art-damaged punk that’s reminiscent of all those classic SST albums, both in the band’s noisy, messy, mid-fi sound and in their overall approach to being a band. These guys are less about crafting something perfect and pristine and more about playing songs that are fun and just a little offbeat.

“Caste Away” is a bit of a switch, jumping more to the droney, meditative side of things, but even then the track’s still raw and bleeding, with vocals swiped from a Parts & Labor track, understated drumming, and explosive, Bee Thousand-dirty guitars. And yeah, it’s addictive, hammering away right at the front of your skull. “My Instincts Lie Forgotten” veers over to the Minutemen, mostly in the song’s slightly off-kilter arrangement and pseudo-serious delivery.

Not everything’s perfect, obviously — like I hinted at above, I think that’s kind of the point. Final track “Disharmonics” doesn’t do much for me and feels somewhat disjointed at times, like it’s a song idea that didn’t get fully thought-through in practice. Even still, Art Institute’s first demo is an entertaining ride, one that shows a ton of promise for what’s ahead.

[Art Institute is playing 12/4/10 at Bohemeo’s, along with The Good Music Co. & The Mild Mannered.]
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Review by . Review posted Saturday, December 4th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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