I’m going to be real with you: there are probably outlets out there that can give you a much more incisive and current look at math-rock (go follow Fecking Bahamas right now) than we can. The genre is not exactly our forte, not as a blog, as a system, and not as me, Eden, just writing as an individual. It’s a busy genre with a rich history and a varied one at that. So why keep writing about it, you might ask? Well, let me candid here: because I can’t stop. I love a lot of genres and a lot of genres make me feel something I can’t control until I put it into words and scream it into the void of the internet but, when it hits right, math-rock maybe makes me feel that most powerfully. There’s something just so infectiously powerful about the genre when done right, it’s impossible for me to resist.
That’s exactly how I felt from the moment I first heard the first note on wthAura‘s Grocery. Released this year, the album is like a heady mix of Infinite Shred, TWRP, and Adebisi Shank. Yeah, I invoked the name of the great Adebisi Shank here and it is more than warranted; just listen to tracks like “Produce” or “Meats” and tell me you don’t feel that Adebisi wildness coursing through your bones. Add to that the rich synth tones of “ANNOUNCEMENT 1: Our Associates” and its spiritual successor “Floral”, a whole bunch of crazy guitar stuff like the solo on the aforementioned “Meats”, the irreverent samples which call to mind that TWRP reference, and you can start to get a glimpse of the unbounded energy of this album.
In a genre that too often succumbs to tropes which leave it exactly the opposite of what it should be, dry and obvious instead of lush and surprising, wthAura stand out from the crowd. Their effortless talent at blending technicality and groove (again I send you to “Meats”, one of the best tracks on the album, which has head-turning notes and stomaching-crunching beats in ample supply) means they can hit both on a cerebral and on a visceral level. The end result is just pure joy, pure energy in a can, lightning in a bottle. Math-rock in an album. It makes you want to jump and shout so here I am, shouting at you: listen to this album! Buy this album!