Formed out of the ashes of a 4-piece rock band, Jorge Rios and Brennan Roach picked up where their departed band-mates left off, deciding to assume control of all musical duties in their absence. Vocals, guitar, bass, keys and percussion fall into Rios’ capable hands, while his counterpart Roach contributes equal parts drums, percussion, bass, guitar, keys and clarinet. Coupled with their mastery of loops and samples, the duo builds songs into grandiose crescendos, inviting new dimensions and rhythms to the musical party which would otherwise be impossible.
Their debut Entertainica crash landed on the independent music scene three years after forming, featuring a smattering of unique experimental tracks laced with hints of indie, blues, jazz and electronica. Now Rios and Roach are preparing to take the next step, having self-recorded their follow-up album “Strange Kind of Focus” at a house in the woods of Santa Cruz County. With one West coast tour already under their belts, they are currently booking live dates throughout California and beyond while shopping the new LP to prospective labels.
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Music critics often speculate, that what makes music fanatics thirst for the obscure is the desire to discover music that is “uncontaminated by the commerce machine.” This, they say, is the reason we cling to the abstract and unmarketable, the outlandish and abrasive.
“Strange Kind of Focus,” which is due for release November 16th, 2012 falls exactly into this category of “uncontaminated by the commerce machine.”
The holy grail for music critics like us, is the album that combines outright experimentation and strong hooks, something that engages us mentally while appealing to the instincts that draw us toward pop immediacy. Some of the best records ever made, have been ones that put these two seemingly disparate elements together and you can go as far back as Sgt. Pepper’s and a whole lot farther if you want concrete examples. Yet not many experimental artists are unable to perfect that balance.
Time and Energy have, and even made it seem effortless while they were at it. This album pulls off that balancing act, with catchy and hummable songs, despite the absence of over-simplicity or blatant pandering.
Sometimes brilliance is hard to swallow at first. It’s messy, you spill it all over yourself, but later you feel like a fool for mistaking it for anything else. Which is what you may be inclined to do at first, with this bottomless pit of Santa Ana creativity.
It may seem like a paradox to talk about an experimental rock band in complete control of its sound, but skilled control is exactly what Time and Energy communicate here, within their experimental, independent, eclectic and boundary pushing framework.
Theirs is a melting pot of dizzying styles, varying between tuneful and witty pop songs to unusual approaches and imaginative arrangements. The duo’s musical and technical skills come together to create original riffs, jam sessions and musical adventures, packaged into a ten track album.
“Strange Kind Of Focus” contains many highlights, like “Thought Forms,” “Da Da Da,” “Sitting On A Scale” and “Acid Jam.” It is a fresh hybrid of ethereal tunes and hazy guitar riffs, mixed in with seemingly random instruments and other worldly blips and static, that cloak you in. The electronica effects add to a surprising coherence that runs throughout the whole album.
Numerous bands have tried endlessly to fuse rock with electronic elements but most have failed to achieve what Time and Energy has managed here, by producing a comfortable yet entirely original sound.
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