Music News


People who think the Smiths' music sounds depressing are dumb. There's all kinds of stuff in there: humor, anger, lust, joy -- even the occasional jolt of raw power. One can only hope that when the Seattle outfit Aveo gets likened to the Smiths (which it does, incessantly), the analogy takes into account the vast, turbulent dynamic of Battery. Yeah, it can be sad sometimes. Take "Newton and Galileo," the album's opener, for instance: It's a spiral of downbeat rhythms and soulful falsetto with a bass line that pushes through the dark, gnarled chords like a blossom through a tangle of thorns. Meanwhile, singer/guitarist William Wilson waxes all cosmological about romance in the lines, "Is this planet about to push off into the cold unknown on a reckless trajectory?/I hope this love is a silver screen that shows only silent films."

As lusciously glum as "Newton" is, though, Wilson goes on to stretch his soul across as wide a psychic landscape as Morrissey himself used to. While sonically touching base with everything from Modern Life-era Blur to the Psychedelic Furs to labelmate Death Cab for Cutie, the group sketches grainy thumbnails of anatomy, breakups, injuries and insomnia with a twisted grimace and a morbid wit that is a little too wise and literate to be the result of simply wearing too much black on the outside. Even in the face of certain apocalypse, Wilson's assumed persona in "Haley" tackles the hereafter with a wink and a kick in the ass: "You wanna play hide and seek?/NO! I wanna play at sardines in a bomb shelter with love and AM radio." Or, as the bard once so eloquently put it: "If it's not love, then it's the bomb that will bring us together."

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Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller