The Rescue is the new full-length album by Chicago instrumental juggernauts American Draft. Formed in 1999, American Draft features Jeff Wojtysiak (bass) and Mike Baldwin (guitar) of iconic 90’s and early 2000’s Chicago math rock band Volta Do Mar (in fact, their 2001 album, At The Speed Of Light Or Day, was included in our list of 100 great math rock albums you’ve never heard). For a band that hasn’t put out an album in 10 years, you’d never know that by listening to The Rescue. The music is heavy and cathartic that sounds fresh and invigorated by a band that isn’t resting on any laurels and seems hellbent on deconstructing prefund notions of what post-rock, post-metal, and math rock is and can be.
The album starts with a mathy post-metal banger in “Running Scared” that finds the band at their heaviest with some killer guitar work that sounds like post-metal contemporaries Town Portal, Electric Hawk, and Russian Circles. The band keeps the energy going on the next track, “Solace of Light,” that lends itself to being heavy on the post-rock side of things with a bit more atmospheric and washy vibe to the piece that at the first couple listens reminded me of another Chicago band in the City of Echoes era Pelican. The album then takes an interesting turn in “Blades” which is an electronic ambient piece with no drums or perceivable guitar that serves as a kind of median and differentiates the heavier first couple songs with the last two songs on the album, and is a great example of how important song order placement on an album can be to the listening experience.
“Blood Meridian” is a brooding and meticulous piece, that is led by band dynamics akin to Slint and early Tortoise, and is probably the closest song on the album to sounding like Volta Do Mar, but even still this song and album still sounds like something else than the other bands its members play in. The song features some very slick lead guitar work from Mike Baldwin and Sean Shipley as well as some very intricate and masterful drumming by Matt Precin that shines throughout. The last song and title track on the album is a math rock opus, tracking in just under 18 minutes in length, and gives Poly-Math a run for their money in how many different prog drench sections of music can be articulately arranged within one song. The only vocals on the album come in just around the 12-minute mark of the song “The Rescue” and they are brief and triumphant and totally worth the wait as is this album as a whole. Hopefully it won’t take American Draft another 10 years to follow-up this wonderfully crafted album.
American Draft’s full length ‘The Rescue’ is out this Friday. You can pre-order the album over at their Bandcamp page. Chew your food with your mouth shut.