U.S. Maple Purple on Time

Destroying and eagerly placing the pieces and parts of rock back together again with a touch that could probably convince even safe structuralists, is a hobby for U.S. Maple. With the kind of strong low guitar lines needed to pull off this sort of weirdness while maintaining such a tangible sense of composition, the band attempt and pretty much always hit their often lofty goals, but without making it seem that way. The only thing quiet about Purple on Time is Al Johnson’s well-loved, hushed strangulations, which beg, grasp and reach but never quite drown and could never be described as meek. The whole group oozes a confidence that forces the edge off their bizarre math rock experimentalism and tempts listeners to take a chance — it isn’t so difficult after all. "Dumb in the Wings” epitomises this sentiment, at times dragging around a mean glare before it reaches out and pulls you into a strict realisation — these guys are completely in control. Their cover of Dylan’s "Lay, Lady, Lay” hints at their capabilities for downright prettiness and you could almost fall asleep to it if Johnson’s excellently pervy gravel voice wasn’t creeping you right the fuck out. (Drag City)