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Effi Briest

Rhizomes

(Sacred Bones; US: 18 May 2010; UK: import)

All-female band Effi Briest are bursting with ideas on debut full-length, Rhizomes. Despite art house leanings—the arch bark of the vocals, the sharp angles on all of these tracks—there is nothing cool or academic about this set. All nine tracks course with hot blood. Those barking vocals snap with emotion, guitar lines cut deep gashes in the songs while the thick bass fills up space with dripping, molasses-thick notes. These musicians can stretch out with the expansive, moody surge of the title track, or tighten up their riffs into the affecting, terse thump of songs like “Wodwoman” or “New Quicksand”. As Rhizomes moves, the band sounds like it settles into its sound, grows used to the sonic mood it has constructed. The vocals fill out, the guitars thicken, and the tracks only get stronger as a result. For a group named after a 19th-century German novel, these ladies have created something awfully fresh. You can dance to this, you can shout along to it in your car, or you can cup your headphones to your ears and be amazed by the sounds they’re grinding out. Getting you to do any one of those things would be a pretty solid feat, but that Effi Briest can cause all three is what makes them an exciting band more people should hear.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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