The Black & White Years

Thursday

SXSW Platters

The Black & White Years

(Brando)

The Black & White Years hearken back to a simpler time – 1977 to be exact. The local quartet's eponymous debut sounds like an updated version of the Talking Heads, with angular post-punk guitar carefully structured over jittery synths and polyrhythmic beats. Probably not coincidental, then, is the LP's production by former Talking Head keyboardist Jerry Harrison, who ensures that every layer of sound has its own space to breathe, particularly in opener "A Wetter Sea" and Technicolor ballad "My Broken Hand." Like David Byrne, vocalist Scott Butler seethes with cynical, hyperintellectual lyricism, most evident on "Power to Change," which reads like a summation of God, Germs, and Steel. The disco-glam of "Everyone" and closer "Zeroes and Ones" lean closer to Of Montreal circa The Sunlandic Twins, while "Hysterical Sickness" and "Evil Ape" add hot flashes of surf guitar, the latter boasting a psychedelic organ and mariachi trumpets. Everything sounds familiar, but it's rarely ever sounded better. (Thursday, March 13, Maggie Mae's Gibson Room, 9pm.)

***.5

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