Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Rocketo the Mapmaker

Parts & Labor - Home Site
Parts & Labor @ MySpace
Parts & Labor @ Wikipedia

I've been listening to Parts & Labor's new album Mapmakers off and on since I bought it. While technically compelling, there's just something off about the band that holds me back from completely loving them. Their sound, DuPont Circle post-punk emo by way of Dublin, is one of the closest things to a pure rock album I've heard in a long time. They do verge on being noise but their sense of melody and song structure and pacing keep them from being labeled so easily. However, their greatest asset I fear is also the greatest liability. Drummer Christopher Weingarten (who, incidentally is leaving the band) is brilliant and nearly as spastic as Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier. Yet his sound is the one that stands out the most. When identifying this band as it comes up in my player I always know it by drums alone. While the rest of the guitar work is of good quality it has tinges of too much pop for a band based around the idea of breaking down some of the traditional song structures. Vocalist Dan Friel has a distinctive voice that gives the band its Irish touches just as the semi-punk stylings remind me of the hardcore emo bands of the late 80s and early 90s.
On the whole the album is a solid piece but shows the limits of the band (unless, of course, they go the route the Liars took and completely reinvent their sound a couple of times over). It was worth the purchase but I fear that this album's use will come more from the individual songs making their way onto my mix tapes rather than any particular urge to put the album on for simple listening. Still, despite all it's flaws, it is a good and remarkable album.

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