To The Innocent
The word "math," despite being only four letters long, encompasses so many different philosophies, it's staggering. Set theory, topology, logic and calculus all fall within the rubric of math; they all represent concepts that are wildly different but at their fundament are united by numbers.
"Math rock" has many of these aspects. Complex time signatures and dynamics are one thing, but where the brains behind them take it is another. Rob Crow (of Thingy, Optigonally Yours, and the defunct Heavy Vegetable) has a unique harmonic and acoustic style that almost seems out of place among the fantastic equations being discussed elsewhere in the field. The vocal interplay between Crow and fellow ex-Vegetable Elea Tenuta is startling and solid amid the organized randomness of the music. Thingy's melodies and arrangements are constructed of many simple and honest parts, like folk music for those with attention deficits. Their sense of humor is appropriately twisted: the lyrics of "O.B.1." consist of a certain desperate plea from Princess Leia. And despite the complicated nature of the songs -- I'd probably need a couple of years of training just to hum along -- they are easy to enjoy and catchy to boot. Why does that ending break from "My Room Has a T.V." remind me of the percolating ditty from the Maxwell House commercials?
Absolutely Kosher Records, 417 Fredrick St., San Francisco, CA 94117; http://www.sirius.com/~fatkid