Where did all the good math go?
Remember when everyone used to be into all that math rock? No? I don’t either. Maybe it’s because the craze hasn’t started yet, or will indeed never happen. I can’t help thinking that there’s a portion of the world that have been craving a certain musical style, never getting fully fulfilled from whatever they listen to. If that’s the case you for you, maybe you will enjoy math. I could insert an obvious joke about me not meaning the academic study, but I won’t; partly because it’s tacky, but also because the genre really does have a lot to do with maths. It’s all about time signatures and crazy guitar pieces that defy pop logic. “Songs with no chorus” is the phrase I repeat to my Oasis influenced buddies when I play them “Tom Waits” by The Fall of Troy. “Is this what you listen to at home?” they ask, seeming slightly concerned.
I can’t really describe how crazy these bands can get, so I will offer you a series of links below if you are inclined to find out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82Br1IAH4x8 – Tom Waits- Fall of Troy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YREocBCLxYo – Ringo Starr, 2nd best drummer in the Beatles- Blakfish
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML2Jo80d7rE – Brilliant the Brilli Ant – Cats and Cats and Cats
Now that you are slightly familiar with the genre, (providing you don’t absolutely despise it) I will continue to my real concerns.
Where did all the good math go?!
I mean, remember Blakfish? They were THE ULTIMATE math rock band. They had it all. Take a song like “We beg we borrow we steal”, for instance. On first listen it sounds like an absolute mess. Maybe on fourth listen it still does, but if you stay with it and persevere, the rich texture and blend of the dual guitars becomes one big mindfuck and yr left thinking, “HOW IS THE BAND ONLY A FOUR PIECE?” and “HOW ARE THEY NOT THE MOST APPRECIATED BAND OF ALL TIME?”, it’s sad, because they broke up and I think they all work normal jobs now, and did so for a long time trying to get noticed. People with such unrivalled talent and originality should be praised to the high heavens. C’mon, have you heard Thom Peckett’s voice and that vocal range? A band like them could get by without amazing voices, but man, there’s female singers in the charts that can’t sing as high as this guy. Just try it.
Okay, sorry. It seems every time I think about Blakfish I feel like I need to rant on about them, so I’ll stop now.
There aren’t many Math bands around now, and even then not many really get it right. It’s a hard thing to do, but it’s seems to me some of these bands like to play up to cliché’s that don’t really exist yet, but I’ve noticed. One that springs to mind is abuse of the stop/start rhythm’s, where the band will suddenly stop, wait a few seconds, play a series of jagged notes and then go back into their melody that previously worked just fine without the interlude. This is absolute personal opinion now, but I just think it’d be better if you could hear the thread in a math band’s song. I think some are missing the point slightly, and could easily be awesome bands, but they are trying to cram too much into one song. I’ve listened to “Snow White” by “Wot Gorilla?” repeatedly to try and see if I’m the problem, but I swear I’m not. Amazing intertwining melodies hook me into the start, but halfway through it’s like I’ve listened to about five different songs. I think this is the trap that some math bands are falling into and could easily get out of. You need that blend of pop and change of rhythm somewhere that makes the audience go “YES” and start bouncing. It’s not all about appreciation of technical skill. A guy who gets it just right is Evan Weiss from “Into it. Over it.” He’s so good you can’t even hear the rhythm changes, just feel them. In my opinion, it’s better like that. By all means though, if you are anyone who genuinely likes it better the other way, I apologize.
Some Math bands, which (in my opinion) get it right.
· The Fall of Troy
· Cats and Cats and Cats
· Protest the Hero
· Fish Tank
· This Town Needs Guns
The great thing about math is, it doesn’t have to define yr whole style, and I think it sucks when some math bands let it do.
My band “Crawl Space” is by no means math, but we sure take influence from the genre. We use dischords and things, ya’know.
Go listen if yr interested. Thanks, Sam.
Any bands (math rock influenced or not) that want to play gigs in Manchester
as regular music blogs we put on around 30 bands each month in Manchester
Magazine unless otherwise stated.
All Interviews by Alex McCann unless otherwise stated
NB: Please seek permission before using any articles within this site