Hi-Red Center - Architectural Failures (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Hi-Red Center

Architectural Failures (2005)


Four dudes, a variety of instruments (including a trombone everyone once in a while), layers of harmonies on top of melodies, poppy rhythms, jammed out noise tracks, spastic rhythms, schizophrenic time signatures, dissonant guitar and bass chords, latered vocal harmonies. Krautrock, prog, indie, noise, pop, free jazz, post-punk. Blips, beeps, distorted guitars, splash cymbals and sharp snare hits, angular bass lines, droning keyboards, plunky marimba parts, trombone.

I said it. There. That's the review.

Just kidding.

Hi-Red Center can't really be categorized, which is why this review is hard to write. Tracks like "Captain Waltz" follow a hokey sort of marimba part with syncopated guitars and bass bopping in a tight 3/4 which borders on annoying, but then tracks like the opener, "Red/Green" jumps from uptempo jam rock to slowed down keyboard-driven melody parts before jumping back into spazzy drums. "Evil Doer" is an Allman Brothers jam intro complete with all the instruments cranking out solid sixteenth notes and building on big meolodies, vocal, and otherwise (this is where the trombone comes in). And these two tracks work better than most stuff I hear. "Magic Teeth" reminds me of Aloha with a time signature I can't really place and a marimba line.

But every song moves around and seeemingly gets bored of itself before it bursts off into some other form change. And before this album even gets a chance to get stale or tame, it switches up again, catching you off guard. But unlike most spastic groups of this nature, Hi-Red Center keeps their sense of melody above everything. And that's what really sets them apart.

That and their ability to incorporate free jazz sections just for the hell of it. You know, whatever.

At times it seems that it gets to be a bit much, and I can't really control that, so this isn't the sort of release that you play over and over again every day. It's a treat, like ice cream after a junior high band concert. Know what I'm saying?