Representing three generations of the Boston underground music scene, E brings together Thalia Zedek from Uzi and Come on guitar and vocals, Karate's Gavin McCarthy on drums and Jason Sanford of Neptune on additional guitar and vocals. Although Zedek and Sanford combine their noise rock credentials with McCarthy's precision-sharp drumming, much of the trio's debut self-titled album comes off comfortable and familiar sounding, which simultaneously works in and against the trio's favour.
Over the album's 10 tracks and 35-minute runtime, E seem more like a musical experiment than a fully realized group, as Zedek and Sanford's scratched and hammered guitars explore far more interesting ideas and cover much more artistic ground than their oft-uninspired vocals melodies do. Luckily, the three-piece have so much experience that E can't help but sound sonically titillating, especially on tracks like the '90s post-punk/no wave-indebted opener "Great Light" (a track that properly showcases Zedek's scorched guitar playing), the Fugazi-esque "Candidate" (featuring McCarthy's most urgent vocals to date) and the surprisingly tender "Fissure" (which manages to demonstrate exactly the type of personality McCarthy's drumming can bring to a song).
On their self-titled debut, E focus on each member's strength, leaving listeners with an album that's at times more combative than it is collaborative. (Thrill Jockey)