By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
The three heads in Namelessnumberheadman wouldn't hurt a fly. They're intelligent, conscientious, responsible and respectful. They're three all-around nice guys.
But they'll still try to kill you. After all, they tried to kill me.
It's been nearly four years since the group adopted its moniker from a character in Steven Soderbergh's cult comedy Schizopolis. Nearly four years since it began tweaking conventional song structure until what came out was a hybrid of styles melding indie pop, folk, electronica and atmospheric noise. The band's first two albums, 100,000 Subtle Times and When We Leave, We Will Know Where We've Been, were met with widespread praise as Namelessnumberheadman's reputation grew beyond its hometown of Kansas City. Now the group's latest effort, Your Voice Repeating, is available on vinyl from St. Louis' own First Flight Records.
Watching Nameless onstage is like peeking through a two-way mirror. The band members seem generally oblivious to the cocktail-sipping masses huddled in the shadows. They're lost in their own waves of sound. To create layered rhythms of dreamy soundscapes, Namelessnumberheadman has to, in effect, become three one-man bands performing in unison. There are between six and nine keyboards strewn about the stage at any given performance. Lewis mans the keyboards and reins in electronic cacophony. Whittington sings and plays guitar, keyboards and drums. Sallee sings and plays drums and keyboards. All at the same time.
The vibe created by Your Voice Repeating is a continuation of the band's earlier albums. The tracks are peppered with moody exploration and indie explosion, toe-tapping grooves and electronic fuzz, aching lyrics and massaging vocals.
I had made it all the way to the record's second song, "Every Fiber," when disaster struck. Bang. A tire blew out. And then...nothing. I pulled to the side of the road. OK, listening to the album wouldn't have killed me or anyone else. But even if it had, listening to it was worth the risk.