Instrumental rock duo celebrates life, not guitar wankery, on their exciting fifth album.
Transitions serves double meaning for Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty, the doubleneck bass/guitar whiz and acoustic/electronic drummer, respectively, who comprise instrumental rock duo El Ten Eleven. There’s the inevitable march of time and life’s changes (marriage, children, divorce, death, etc.) -- important, but perhaps hard to capture in a lyricless song. More obvious, of course, are the sonic transitions the band has undergone since 2010’s It’s Still Like A Secret: chiefly, longer, more technically complex songs (which is saying something, given Dunn’s doubleneck wizardry).
One could spend days wandering through Transitions’ 10-minute eponymous multi-suite opening track and a passable hip-hop breakdown on the gleaming “Yellow Bridges”, an ode to Fogarty’s hometown of Pittsburgh. Sure, the post-rock/post-punk touchstones associated with much of instrumental guitar rock are in place: the New Order vibe of “Thanks Bill”; the sorta-danceability of “No One Died This Time!”. Hell, even the cover of Duran Duran’s “Tiger Tiger”. Mercifully, though, the end result is roll-down-the-car-windows-and-crank-the-stereo celebratory, not murky, knotty guitar wankery.