Bad Vibrations (Strange Attractors Audio House)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., July 11, 2008
My EducationBad Vibrations (Strange Attractors Audio House)
Nearly a decade since their conception, My Education's fourth release graduates from post-rock prep into its own instrumental class. Though the familiar repetition into swelling crescendos still surfaces, the guitars advance in constant choreography and tension with the strings and percussion, a dance for dominance between the Austin sextet's opposing impulses. At its best, Bad Vibrations trembles in textures more subtly balanced. "This Old House" settles with a haunting ambience, Sarah Norris' vibraphone folding into the mix of guitar and viola so softly that its presence flits ghostlike. The title cut bookends at the close with an equally hypnotic lull, pedal steel shimmering underwater light, but the songs between play a dramatic catch-and-release with expert precision. "Arch" spirals behind James Alexander's violin before the guitars overflow with an aching surge of distortion, "Britches Blanket" and "Aria" unraveling equal fury. Smart and ripped with power.