Tub Ring plays tight, progressive songs about unusual subjects ("Killers in Love," "Requiem for a Robot") with darting surf-style leads, choppy riffs, dramatic atmospheric keyboards and basslines that rumble like an upstairs neighbor's vibrating bed. But for all of its eccentricities, the Chicago quintet focuses primarily on making catchy songs, with tuneful vocals (excepting a few spaz-outs) and alluring hooks. The purest example of the group's melody fetish might be its sublime cover of Justin Timberlake's "Rock Your Body," which transcends irony. While Mr. Bungle (whose Trey Spruance produced one of its early albums) clearly influenced Tub Ring, the latter eschews Mr. Bungle's lengthy detours into esoteric noise. Its recent release The Great Filter experiments with rewardingly complex song structures without leaving pop's parameters.
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