Dusted Reviews

Hi Red Center - Architectural Failures

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Hi Red Center

Album: Architectural Failures

Label: Pangaea

Review date: May. 12, 2006

Hi Red Center make fast, disjointed rock music that prominently features electronics, trombone and vibraphone, but they’re hardly a typical post-rock or noise-rock group. Sure, their songs dart and dive all over the place, divvying up rhythms in unusual ways and sometimes breaking into bursts of noise. Michael McCurdy’s approach to the drums is often similar to that of a toddler playing a game of whack-a-mole. U.S. Maple is a reasonably close reference point for Hi Red Center’s more wild moments.

And yet, Architectural Failures feels like it’s a million miles from U.S. Maple. Part of it is that Hi Red Center don’t shy away from sunny pop melodies – and not only do they not shy away from them, they don’t sound like they’re winking when they use them. Hi Red Center aren’t a pop band by any stretch of the imagination, but they don’t avoid major keys, either. And the melodicism of their music is enhanced by the vocals – “amateurish” isn’t the right word to describe them, but that’s getting there. The singing isn’t quite recorded right, and while it’d be unfair to say that Ben Lanz, Russell Greenberg and Lawrence Mesich are bad singers, they also have unpolished voices that recall lots of ‘90s lo-fi indie-pop bands that neither you nor I remember.

The result is that Architectural Failures feels less like an art-rock experiment and more like what it would sound like if Mates of State ditched the female singer, added some guitar noise, and played all their songs in odd time signatures. Actually, that would make Mates of State sound pretty different, but that’s kind of the point. Hi Red Center has found a nice balance of pop and noise, but they’re not particularly close to either pole. That’s to their credit.

By Charlie Wilmoth

Read More

View all articles by Charlie Wilmoth

Find out more about Pangaea

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.