At Once, the incredible new record from Connecticut’s The Most, is nothing short of a bar-raiser. Following its completely unexpected release (the band started promoting the album only three days ago), math rock fans, twitterers and social media vagrants have immediately resorted to showering praise. It’s understandable.
The band’s full length debut sits comfortably at the tier between jazz, indie and math rock, and features an impressive orchestral arrangement of saxophone, clarinet, guitars, keys and percussion. The instrumentation, both highly intelligent and seamlessly blended, ranges from the loungy jazz vibes of ‘Wordchurch’, to the Polvo-esque opener of ‘Chryskylodon’, to the disjunctive punk ruckus of ‘Five-Point-Palm Exploding-Heart-Technique’. The sound is beautifully rich; brass and woodwind sit atop highly angular guitar phrases, as vocalist Connor Wage chronicles everything from friendship to geometry. At many times throughout its cycle At Once brings a surge of different stimuli, yet the nine track album retains a certain poise and elegance. Everything that makes a great jazz record.
We’ve sadly bid our farewells to bands like Feed Me Jack and Clever Girl. Bands that brought an exciting substance and intelligence to math rock. The Most are clearly the successors to this revered niche. At Once is mature, bold and highly imaginative, not to mention a serious contender for album of the year. This, friends, is a bar-raiser.