Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Aug. 12, 2005
Packaged in a plain cardboard wrapper, 1986's well-oiled take on Rust Belt indie rock & droll blows up like a burning bag of microwave popcorn. The debut's rough-hewed production captures the raw vibe of a rehearsal-room tape, but the local band's music is more sharply articulated than that aesthetic would normally indicate. You can hear strategic touches of glam, punk, and psychedelia here and there, but the only axiom 1986 is truly beholden to is the noble pursuit of a perfect rock song. The Austin quartet flirts with glory in the driving warble of "I Know." The nervous energy dynamic of "It's Too Bad" will tighten a few stomach muscles, and the Twin Tone barroom rave-up "Mechanical Dreams" is capable of moving more than a few beers. Cully Symington's Keith Moon-style workout on "Narcotic" is enough to get him short-listed as one of River City's best rock drummers. Nashville songwriter Bobby Bare Jr. co-wrote "Comatose," a desolate soundscape that effectively showcases the band's breadth. While the 10-song disc oozes integrity, the one thing 1986 doesn't deliver here is the aforementioned killer track that won't leave your head for days. If they maintain their solid stellar trajectory, it's only a matter of time.