Published Dec 09, 2016Lampshades are a Toronto noise rock band, a couple of years old and a couple of EPs in. The Jesus Lizard's influence is palpable in their from-the-gut, visceral live energy, but where Duane Denison often dealt in extremely tight, angular riffage, Tan Arcade's guitar playing is a bit looser, working around his own vocals as much as (and sometimes in counterpoint to) the rhythm section.
The lyrics illustrate scenes of paranoia and post-modern disillusionment (perhaps a similar kind to what drew young fans to the Jesus Lizard in the post-Reagan years). The remarkable thing is that, despite the noise and abrasiveness, there are still memorable, sing-along-able melodies tucked away here and there. Arcade also covers quite a vocal range for the style, from creepy whisper to apathetic drawl to belting chest voice. It's one of the things that made Kurt Cobain such a charismatic frontman, though tonally he comes a bit closer to Isaac Brock's yelps and howls.
If there's one general way in which the band could improve, it'd be to push the boundaries of their sound to stand out a bit more. It could be sweetening up the melodies to make them more memorable and to contrast the noisy parts better, or maybe to push the noise and aggression further outside what might nowadays be considered norms for the genre. The former might be a more fruitful option, since acts like METZ and the Locust have already embraced noise and aggression, to great success. Either way, cheers to another great thread in Toronto's growing noise-and-post-punk tapestry. (Independent)