2 plus 2 equals rock
It’s not surprising that this band’s name sounds like some sort of equation. There’s a lot of math here. It would be difficult to count time through their odd timings, unusual tempos, unexpected dynamic shifts, crazy chord shapes rarely used in rock music, and all sorts of fun stuff. It could be called “puzzle rock.” The songs are odd pieces put together in unexpected ways.
However, drummer Mike Angelini, guitarist Louis Gezelin, guitarist-vocalist Jacques Pelham and bassist/backing vocalist Clint Neuerburg don’t write technical exercises. They write well-crafted songs. “Bloodsound,” for example, features sparkling-clean Fender Twin Reverb tones and hypnotic build-ups to the rollicking (though cryptic) chorus: “Red 1980/you were given an order/but these cowboys won’t save me/and soon this thing will be over.” Along the way, they hit some tight ensemble stop-starts and throw in a quirky prog-rock riff or two for good measure. Another song, the instrumental “Cockamamie Scheme,” veers from kinetic riffing to slow pulse to full-fledged guitar noise. However, it follows a trajectory that—though unpredictable—manages to maintain logic and unity.
The band’s soft-loud, slow-fast mix of indie rock songwriting and math rock-outs is comparable to 1990s Louisville, Kentucky bands like Slint, Rodan and, most especially, June of 44.
But, says Pelham, “The way we write, we don’t aspire to sound like anything. We just let our ideas develop.”
For a band with such mathematical tendencies, the sound has a surprisingly organic feel, which might be because the musicians write collaboratively.
“Most of our songs have come out of jams,” says Angelini. “They start out as sort of loose ideas and then become more structured. And, there’s no hierarchy. Everybody contributes their own thing.”
Pelham’s agreeable, unaffected vocals and impressionistic lyrics provide a mellow center to the songs, no matter what unexpected twists and turns the music might take.
Gezelin and Angelini are alumni from two beloved but long-defunct Reno bands called Lionel Hutts and Mike, Tyson, and Tommy.
“People are excited to see Louis and Mike in a new band,” says Neuerburg. The band also claims to have benefited from its connection to Neuerburg’s other band, shoegazing noise-poppers Think In French.
In addition to having some appropriately equation-like qualities, namefollowedbynumber’s name is a comment on the trend of recent years for bands to tag numbers on the ends of their names. Like Blink 182, Sum 41, or even, come to think of it, June of 44.