By Bob McMahon
By Allison Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By Carolina de Busto
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
The idea behind Soundtracks for Superheroes is, on the surface, a simple one: Take the frenetic, kinetic energy of this horn-heavy instrumental band and gradually slow the tempo down over eight tracks. The album opens with the jarring shot "Wirecap," a song with a stuttering horn line that morphs into a slow-phase meditation. As math-rockers go, the Pat Sajak Assassins are damn fine at shifting rhythms and signatures at a moment's notice, and early on the disc they establish a dichotomy between the rhythm section's tightness and tenor saxophonist William Schafer's limitless freedom. The effect is similar to a freehand drawing done on a sheet of graph paper it's hard to separate the art of the design from the stricture of the medium, and it's a battle that plays out over the course of the record.
The band's m.o. is best heard on "44 & Jamieson," and though it's placed late in the album, the song acts a kind of overture for the record, a nine-minute sampler of the group's style. Feedback and snippets of dialogue give way to a tinny, scattershot drum loop and sonorous bass chords. An unusually creamy tenor sax figure floats and dips above it all, until a clatter of broken glass shifts the song toward a loose guitar jam. As usual, the song rebuilds itself, having picked up new sounds and patterns along the way. The whole album operates on this principle: taking a hook or pattern, building the tension to a boil and letting it dissipate.
Christian SchaefferWant your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130. Submissions can also be dropped off at the building during normal business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.