Invalids, the virtual symposium of musicians headed by Pete Davis in Princeton, New Jersey, demonstrates, once again, that a proper band practice is not necessary in the creation of an inexplicably digestible, innovative, and well-rounded album. Forgive the tautology, but Strengths is strong. Chorale melodies rise in and out of unapologetic tapping farragoes and fills. The pace slows to delicate cymbal hits and the ghost-like presence of a riff stalking in the background. With time, momentum picks up and force with vocals take over. Like a genius writer at Disney, dare should I say, Davis’s song-arches in Strengths birth you into a world of chaos, open you to the vulnerabilities of his narrative, and then plunge you back into chaos.
After listening to Eunoia and Strengths back-to-back a half-dozen times, the question kept on nagging: how has Invalids evolved musically from 2012 to 2014? Although largely breaking from the arpeggiated flurry of the 1st index finger, ring finger, 2nd index finger, and repeat tapping formula made popular by early Maps & Atlases, there is clearly a tappity-tap-tap riff style that resembles that of the old. In Strengths each guitar layer comes with more attack, invigoration, and dynamism. There is extra ferocity in Strengths. One can hear elements of Maps & Atlases, The Speed of Sound in Sea Water, and Giraffes? Giraffes! , but what distinctively separates Strengths from the others is its abundance of choruses. The euphony most pronounced at the beginning of ‘Satellite,’ Invalids has pulled a new sphere of influence into math rock and the trajectory looks promising.
Math rock, vocals, tappity-tap, happy, emo, odd rhythms