Akimbo Navigating the Bronze

Akimbo Navigating the Bronze
Slowly but surely Seattle’s Akimbo have been building an impressive library of heavy and smart releases. Navigating the Bronze, the band’s fifth, finds them moving from a trio to a quartet with the addition of Aaron Walters on second guitar. And the more sounds added to the band’s din the better, which ranges here from ’90s-style AmRep noise rock to technical hardcore to Southern groove. The mighty "Wizard Van Wizard” features all of those sounds in a couple minutes flat. Drummer Nat Damm, who also handles most of the band’s artwork, steals the show with his smart fills and nearly-out-of-control style pumped up high in the mix, with a great natural sound to boot. His beats propel songs like "Dungeon Bastard” along, helping to make them the strange pieces of emotional hardcore-meets-joke rock that they are (in "Roman Coins” there’s a freakin’ drum solo — he is the song). Somewhere in all this is the strange paradox that is Akimbo: is it all a sly joke to the in crowd or just great heavy sonics to bang the head to? Who knows? Oh, and the last song is an eight-minute ode to a madman astronomer you’ve never heard of, if that helps clarify matters any.

The name of the album is Navigating the Bronze. What is the bronze?
Bassist/vocalist Jon Weisnewski: The last half of an awesome album title. Damm: [The album title] is what we felt was representative of the songs we were writing. I’d say that choosing album names is one of the hardest things about making a record. "Navigating the bronze” is playing rock, sailing the seas of radness. It hits the nail on the head for us for this record, plus it conjures up imagery that is pertinent to what we’re doing. As soon as I heard the title I imagined stormy seas and a Viking van taking us from city to city.

You’ve got a new guitarist since last time out. What has Aaron brought to the band?
Damm: Aaron has brought some serious shredding, and a killer vocabulary. Weisnewski: Hmm. We used to be a triangle, now we’re a circle.

The band’s sound is so aggressive yet seems to also have a light-hearted, humorous edge. What’s the motivation behind the music?
Damm: I think we just do what we feel is best. We’re not really angry people. It feels really good to play music in general. [And] have a good time all the time. (Alternative Tentacles)