Crystal Antlers

Friday

SXSW Records

Crystal Antlers

Tentacles (Touch and Go)

With this debut full-length, Long Beach noise-rock quintet Crystal Antlers continues with the same bold aesthetic choices that marked last year's acclaimed eponymous EP: The wobbly whine of Victor Rodriguez's Farfisa dominates the album, supported by frantic drums and percussion. It's a distinctive sound but also limiting. Rodriguez can't modulate his volume, and with bassist/vocalist Jonny Bell and drummer Kevin Stuart following suit, the latter on a piercing ride cymbal, Tentacles has a punishingly uniform sonic profile – loud as hell – that smears its songs into one another. When the group slows down a bit, as on "Until the Sun Dies (Part One)," it's easier to make out what's going on; album closer "Several Tongues," meanwhile, works by highlighting the insistence of Rodriguez's organ. Crystal Antlers need to allow the sounds of their instruments to serve a compositional goal in this way more often, rather than simply using them to bash through their songs. (Fri., Flamingo Cantina, 1am.)

**.5

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