Frantic Mantis - Data Is Not Information (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Frantic Mantis

Data Is Not Information (2005)


It's sort of ironic that while Frantic Mantis is two-thirds made up of Division Of Laura Lee members and one-third Decahedron, the band's sound is decidedly heavy on the latter. Still, the Sweden-based trio's debut, Data Is Not Information, attempts a hybrid begging to be called "datapunk" by its label and intial press. While the combination of sporadic electronics and punk rock is far from a new thing, Data sounds rather refreshing at the present time: A usually mid-tempo battle between abusive, Game Boy static pulsing and charged, noisy rock. While FM are infinitely better when fusing faster tempos with their general sound, the rest of Data is a good display of the aforementioned.

Since Decahedron is widely known for an inspired revitalization of the post-hardcore sound Dischord was revolutionizing in the late 80's / early 90's, there's clearly a smattering of influence from the same era on Data. You have you requisite Fugazi affectations, but hints of Nation Of Ulysses as well as bits of Jawbox. While some of the more legendary bands of the 90's have taken these influences and added healthy bits of rousing, surfaced melody (At The Drive-In, Refused), FM is a bit more reliant upon both the instrumental and experimental portions, avoiding anything that could remotely be deemed "catchy," but with an ambition intent on unpredictability and flowing walls of sound.

While the majority of Data as previously mentioned is made up of mid-paced, decent tracks, the band is at their best with hard fought tempos and aggressiveness. "2600 Meeting At Pentagon City Mall In 1994" takes a minute to get things really going, but once it does, the band firmly puts the "frantic" in Frantic Mantis, with their newly signature, rough and slightly ragged vocals yelling above distant guitars and spacey riffs. "Glappkontakt" gets a bit noodly with instruments going nowhere and some relatively incomprehensive muttering accompanying it, but its immediate follower is "Mantis Rising," the record's peak of intensity with shouts of "mantis -- rise up!" in the middle and a pace that doesn't let up for its two-minute plus running time. See "Economy Is The Enemy" for another bout of fit screams and a mind-numbing stereo separated riff.

Data Is Not Information is an interesting debut that's heavy on three things: Dischord post-hardcore, fuzzy video game noises, and flat-out punk rock. While it seems the record would be far more compelling stripped of its occasionally keyboards-gone-narcisstic moments and dragging sections due to such, along with a healthier reliance on pacing, there's a lot of good things happening here. Perhaps not enough to result in a new subgenre, but many good things nonetheless.

Creation Sickness
Mantis Rising

My Eyes Are Too Large