Music » Record Reviews

Datadrums Celebrate LP Release At Shangri-La's Sweat Fest 5 on Saturday

After a Decade & A Half, Long-Standing Memphis Band Issues Its Definitive Statement.


"I try to read it too deeply, everything becomes absurd," intones local guitarist and singer Chuck Vicious on asyndeta, the new record by his band Datadrums, before ramping up to double-time: "Absurdity! It's how you feel! It's how you think! It's how you believe!" It's on the last track of the album, but could have easily been the first, summing up as it does the feel of the entire work.

"You know I like it when you hollow out my soul," as one song announces. This is an LP that simultaneously laughs and rages at the arbitrary nature of existence. Conjuring up a sound and attitude reminiscent of the the Fall's Mark E. Smith fronting the Stooges, with a bit of Clash-style chanting and rave-ups thrown in, the band rocks both earnestly and sardonically.

"Twenty! Twenty! Twenty! Twenty! Nine! Nine! Nine! Nine!" sings Vicious, as the band pounds away. Somehow it works, with the Da-Da lyrics setting up an anything-goes atmosphere that promises and delivers surprises.

Datadrums has been around for fourteen years  now, and the power of this record is a testament to the staying power of the classic lineup of bass, drums and dual guitars. The band makes the most of such instrumentation, with perfectly dialed-in, crunchy guitar tones, all with the spontaneous energy that comes from being recorded live. There are occasional flourishes of synth or walkie-talkie vocals, as on "Robot Repair," but this affair is grounded in a kick ass rock band.

The band's rock solid 70s hard rock sound, complemented by oblique lyrics and an unfussy recording and production style, is a perfect setup for the wry observations that do cut through the murk.  Perhaps keeping the band's sounds relevant over such a stretch of years lies behind the lyrics of "Vacuume Sealed," both a desperate demand and a plea:  "Please don't throw me away. I'll be fresh another day..."

asyndeta by Datadrums is out now on Also Tapered Records. Release party at Shangri-La Record's Sweat Fest 5, Saturday, August 24 at 2 pm. Other bands include The Sheiks, The Heels, Louise Page, Risky Whispers, the Tennessee Screamers, and James Walker.

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