Every morning I drive my high performance Honda Fit to work. The drive takes thirty minutes. In that time I listen to records and podcasts. One morning last week I put on the new Upsilon Acrux record, as I was making my 7:30 a.m. descent to the office.
What was most pleasing about those first few minutes of the record was the back and forth interplay across the channels of my stereo system. It was as if a quintet of highly musical bees had been let loose in my car. While playing their instruments these bees would bounce off one window and then head to the next. The interplay was completely joyful, much like the music on Upsilon Acrux’s seventh full length record Sun Square Dialect.
Most of this relentless movement in the music can be attributed to the two drummers. Shifting back and forth from one drummer to the next requires the keyboards and guitars to constantly move to find a place to fit in. Band members fight to grab the listener’s attention before being shuffled into the back of the composition. It’s a record of constant energy, a record full of shifting textures, tempos, and colors.
Upsilon Acrux has been playing in the waters of heavy prog music for almost two decades, and strangely enough, from Los Angeles California. Sometimes the band is a two piece, sometimes they have two drummers, but at the core is a frenetic and challenging music. What feels different about this record is a calm subtlety in between the bombast, which elevates the heavier songs. A song like “Smells Kline” allows a melodic keyboard part to float around the stabs of noisy guitar before working up the noise before the song ends.
It’s this detail that makes the record enjoyable over multiple listens. This isn’t a record to simply get hit over the head with, even though that’s there, Sun Square Dialect is a record that requires labored attention well worth the clever work put into it.
Noise rock, math rock, odd rhythms, punk, noise
Sounds A Tad Like
Hella, U SCO, Cheval De Frise, Ahleuchatistas
$7USD digital; $20USD vinyl-al (New Atlantis Records)
US of A