Two Singles From The Philistines
The Philistines hold nothing back in their two latest singles. The songs’ shrill, sixties psyche-tinged rock splits the difference between face-melting energy and danceable grooves. The band’s tube-warmed glow thickens their overall sound without turning into merely textural atmosphere.
“Twitch of the Death Nerve” begins with swathes of nebulous sounds that give way to distorted guitars chugging along their staccato phrases with an energy almost unable to be contained within the confines of a recording. Their angularity softens as the lyrics churn out their melodic gold. The harmonies between Cody Wyoming, Kimmie Queen, and Michelle Bacon give a dimensionality to the vocals that adds additional depth to their catchy melodies.
This idea of layering seems apropos to both songs. “Twitch of the Death Nerve” and “Arecibo” have a depth to their recording that is usually only found on stage. Each song displays complete control (and use) of the aural spectrum, and each song hits a sonic density without over-saturating.
While both songs seem to have the same formula–lead-in, lyrics, psychedelic jam that leads back to the original riff–, each song uses its pieces to give off different tones. “Twitch of the Death Nerve” and “Arecibo,” while similar in structure, vary wildly in feel. “Twitch of the Death Nerve” is as close to a straightforward rock song as The Philistines have made. Its drums drive through its parts without stopping to breathe. Its strings are heavy and fraying. The song sounds like The Mars Volta at their most rocking (read: during Amputechture).
“Arecibo” moves in a different vein. Shadowed and moody, the song teases as it moves between dark prog-rock and a sound like Muse’s most radio-friendly songs. “Arecibo” sheds the beer-rock sheen that whispered under the surface of “Twitch of the Death Nerve” and dons a rock-opera trench coat. Then result is a track that is patient without boring, brooding without losing its urgency, and muscular without being rigid. While “Arecibo” seems dense and heady on first listen, it bubbles with a vibe that can be felt throughout the body.
The two songs seem ready for world, and The Philistines know it. While the band premiered these songs on KKFI just this morning, they have been playing them live since early 2014–a trend they will likely continue as they play two showcases in Austin next weekend at SXSW.
As shown above, The Philistines put on great shows that vacillate between psych and punk. They combine the meandering jams of The Conquerors with LAZY’s tenacity. The Kansas City six piece will be back in town by the end of the month. On March 27th, The Philistines will play The Replay Lounge in Lawrence with Spirit the Spirit and friends, and The Riot Room will host them during Middle of the Map Fest at the end of April. Both shows are sure to be life-changing, both aurally and visually.