[10 August 2010]
As the guitarist and drummer for Chicagoland math-rock protagonists U.S. Maple, Mark Shippy and Pat Samson are responsible for some of the most abrasive and challenging sheets of fury to bleed educated ears over the last 20 years. And this is the exact reason why the first listen to the debut LP from the duo’s new outfit, Miracle Condition, will undoubtedly shock many of those very same fans. Here, the windfall of feedback and off-kilter polyrhythms give way to a smoother, more accessible (but no less innovative) hybrid of progressive art-pop and jazzy post-rock that bows down to every conventional trapping the Maple was undoubtedly raging against. Nevertheless, Shippy and Samson do so it in such an expert way—think Alan Parsons signed to Thrill Jockey—that they pull it off completely.