So Many Dynamos - The Loud Wars (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

So Many Dynamos

The Loud Wars (2009)


The Loud Wars won't rid So Many Dynamos of Dismemberment Plan comparisons, but compared to 2006's hyperactive Flashlights, a dial down might be warranted. This album actually sat in limbo for a good year before Vagrant decided to pick it up and release it -- which, in turn, took about another year. What's finally presented is frontman Aaron Stovall's Morrison-esque, vaguely deadpanned vocal delivery, perfect levels of buzzing moog, flailing, skittering drum fills and spasmodic charrings of riffs. While there's a certain feeling So Many Dynamos Is still a bit Terrified, this particular full-length of geeky, angular rock (no. 3 for them) proves they have their own battle strategies to bring to the table.

Stovall somehow adds a nerdy flatness to his rising and falling vocal patterns in "Glaciers," which also offers a falling atom bomb sound, backwards recording snippets from an older track (one of their best, "Search Party") and a few firecrackers at song's end for good measure. The keyboards create most of the atmosphere for the jaunty shuffle and procedure of the pre-post-modern "New Bones," filtering Devo's nervousness through ancient toy space guns and anxiously intercutting guitars. Most songs involve a pleasing array of such ingredients.

These songs seem diverse enough but simultaneously they do seem to blend into each other a lot. Maybe there could be a little more tension here, a freakout or two there. There's a bit of a conversational nerve in "Keep It Simple" when Stovall gets awkwardly interrogatory: "We came down too soon / Go on tell me was it good for you?" It's one of the more melodic and memorable refrains of the second half, to be sure, but the climax could've pushed back and improved upon.

Still, this is a solid album through and through (complemented by semi-interesting footnotes in the lyrics in the liner notes), and now that it's already two years old we can hope So Many Dynamos are already thinking of something to improve vastly on the formula.

Artifacts of Sound
New Bones