Ice Hockey

Wavefunction Collapse

Written by: TL on 11/03/2015 13:33:45

The North American alternative scene already has an American Football and a Modern Baseball, so it figures it was only a matter of time before it also got an Ice Hockey. The Quad Cities quartet's new album "Wavefunction Collapse" kicks off with what sounds like a clip from a TV documentary about the area, explaining "Rock Island"'s belonging with the Quad Cities before launching into the band's musical expression: A fuzzy, uncompromising brand of screamo/skramz which evokes moods of isolation and estrangement that are typical of the genre. Thinking about song structure here feels almost beside the point, as the imaginary "Songwriting Rulebook" would clearly be a dusty, long-forgotten tome smoldering in a shady corner of this band's rehearsal space. Lyrics are screamed and howled unintelligibly while the instrumentation either wallows in bleak, introspective melodies or rages in bursts of frantic chord shredding.

To most listeners then, "Wavefunction Collapse" is the opposite of a forthcoming listen, yet to those that have sampled the genre in the past it is a rather typical one. To its credit, the music fluctuates back and forth between moods and movements with a good tempo, making it possible to appreciate individual parts, yet making way for the next bits before you get bored. Both energetic and thoughtful parts work in their basic ways, and there's a sense of authenticity and a hypnotic quality to the album's atmosphere. Sitting on the other side of the planet, it compels you to look up Rock Island on the map, observe the geographical distance between song titles like "Davenport" and "East Lansing" and speculate about a significance, while perhaps wondering if existential musings somehow feel more savoury when surrounded with the scenery of where the Mississippi acts as boundary between Iowa and Illinois.

At the same time however, it makes sense to wonder if the evoked sensation feels less exotic to residents of the area, or indeed to regular listeners of one of the few corners of music that still operates primarily in obscurity from the rest of the industry. Seasoned screamo fans will be able to trace both similarities and differences from a Scandinavian counterpart like Dominic, a UK one like Maths or a seminal genre pillar like Saetia, so in that sense Ice Hockey have their own personality. It is more of a shade than something particularly tangible though, partly because "Wavefunction Collapse" is largely a homogenous listen, where the closest you come to fixtures for the ears are the somewhat distinctive signature riffs that open "Bugcather" and "East Lansing".

Outside of these, the single choice "Solar Myths And Autumn" has a back and forth between tranquility and frantic bursts of shredding that gives it an immediate drive, before a noodling guitar signature comes in later and helps give the song something that resembles a memorable, separate personality. The blueprints for development in the band's sound probably lies in this direction. Zooming out and thinking along the premises normally used to gauge most music, Ice Hockey are short on hooks and arguably don't stand apart enough from their peers stylistically to impress off the bat and lure many listeners back for repeat listens. Yet within the premises of the traditions their style aligns with, "Wavefunction Collapse" is a solid effort and as mentioned it provides a nicely hypnotic listen that figures to help disperse the brooding thoughts of sworn fans of screamo, skramz, "wave", post-hardcore and other connected niches.

Download: East Lansing, Solar Myths And Autumn, Bugcatcher
For The Fans Of: Maths, Dominic, Funeral Diner

Release date 24.02.2015
Texas Is Funny

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