Spastic rhythms, layered synthesizers, obscure verbal sensibilities: Welcome to the world of 13 After, where "post-punk" means something and grunge never happened. They would have fit in well on MTV's 120 Minutes when it was hosted by that British guy.
The band's new self-titled CD has all of the qualities that make 13 After one of the more interesting live experiences in town. Melodies twist and spiral, rhythms jerk one minute and glide the next, but it all stays under control. Sonically, they sometimes resemble NoMeansNo with judiciously applied electronics; other songs, notably "Freelance Watson," pile on atmospherics and samples to achieve an impressively creepy and ominous Residents-type vibe. The temptation to noodle around is kept in check, and the songs stay quick and precise even when they move at odd angles; there might be a spiritual affinity here to early Wire or the Fall.
Send local tapes, tips, discs and detritus to Randall Roberts, The Riverfront Times, 6358 Delmar Blvd., Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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