why+the+wires – Flame Failures

Label: One Percent Press
Released: November 6, 2015

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why+the+wires’ self-described genre is “PunkRockWaltzStompShout.” In a way, any attempt to review this album beyond the concise clarity of that self-examination is pointless. But I’ll give it a shot nonetheless. Flame Failures is a wild and loose affair right out of the gate with two tracks soaring loud and free with perhaps a hint of Naked Raygun’s angularity. But as it proceeds into “Punchline,” the pace changes, though the tone does not. Running bass fills juxtapose with strained melodies, producing a kind of math rock that is scrawled in a nervous hand rather than in neat columns. Likewise, the rambling of “Seizure Party” almost wobbles around a vaguely jazzy sax before nearly unraveling into racket. Ambient tones lead into “The Arm Will Lead the Way” before it too builds on a wave of raging passion. Not-quite-melodic guitar melodies and odd instrumentation and arrangements are surely part of Flame Failures’ strengths, but the way it all sticks together, if only barely, is the real source of its heart.

It is easy to run wild at full speed and why+the+wires can certainly run with most bands, but where they really shine is in the stopping and starting, the ebb and flow, the corners at the end of staightaways. This is where that madness takes stock of itself and then runs off again.

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