[8 September 2006]
The split-LP is a woefully underutilized format, but these two groups do it justice on Do Not Ignore the Potential. Both play hyperactive, spazzy indie rock with eclectic influences, making for a suitable pairing. Los Angeles’ Mae Shi is the better-known of the two, and the band seems determined to cram as many brief ideas into the three-and-a-half minutes of opening track “The Potential” as will fit. Things settle down by track three, with the slightly mangled synth-pop and elevator-shaft drums of “Heartbeeps”, and the Mae Shi even cop a Lifter Puller/Hold Steady vibe on “Massively Overwrought”, which begins, “We came back from New York City with a new and abstruse vocabulary to throw around at everyone”. Hailing from Indiana, Rapider Than Horsepower can’t quite keep up with the Mae Shi’s fragmented musical deluge, though they begin with the disarmingly cute “Split LP with Mae Shi”, a hip-hop-informed display of camaraderie. The semi-rapped singing gets a bit tiresome, but joyful exclamations like, “I got Cool Hand Luke on DVD” mitigate the effects somewhat. Nobody’s striving for historical status here, just some irreverent kicks, and to that extent the potential is fulfilled.