Wire Faces

King Cataract
Hot Congress

When a band's most prized feature is the electric chaos of its live show, finding a studio sound to match can be tricky. Wire Faces' latest full-length has moments that come close to capturing this vitality, with the first half of the record offering all the ornamental delicacies that are sometimes lost on stage while preserving the commanding energy of the band's complex rhythm section. Up-tempo tracks like "Morocco" and "Endless Gala" are eclectic and intricate without any prog-god braggadocio, while "Replicator" achieves a sentimental warmth without sacrificing the song's aggressive momentum. Slower songs like "Vultures" and "Temptress," meanwhile, have a stripped-down abrasiveness, never reaching the urgency of the rest of the album. Reaching toward intimacy but ultimately too clumsy to get there, Shane Zweygardt's normally rousing vocal howls become tedious within this bare-bones structure. It seems that the members of Wire Faces are better songwriters when they've got some zest in their timing.

 
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