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The Part Five

The Tightening

(Cardboard Sangria; US: 5 Apr 2011; UK: 5 Apr 2011)

Chicagoans the Part Five are three dudes who hail from the City of Broad Shoulders, but to these ears, they recall two of Beantown’s favorite sons of the past 30 years: Mission of Burma and Buffalo Tom. Regardless of geography, the P5 dig both prickly post-punk and straightahead college rock on The Tightening their debut, recorded back in late-‘09 but seeing the light of day now in Spring ‘11. About that title: if the finished product represents “the tightening”, I’d be curious to see where the tunes started. Song structures throughout manage to be both knotty and sprawling for their own stake and not in the service of the song, with what feels like a lot of moving parts… all of which are juggled confidently by guitarist Brett Barton, drummer Chris Brantley and bassist Gary Pyskacek on tracks like “Cicero Soul”, “Idle Handsman” and “The War on Dandelions”, but there’s a sense the threesome’s Frankenstein monster is thisclose to breaking free and running amok. This might work better if the band trafficked in dread, but they seem focused on ennui (“These suburban lights are driving me crazy!” goes “Flood Insurance”) and obliqueness (“You can dress me up but you can’t Chrissy Hynde,” suggests “Idle Handsman”). It’s all very clever but The Tightening could use another couple proverbial twists of the Phillips-head.

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