90 Day Men – To Everybody

90 Day Men
To Everybody

The second full-length release from the Chicago troupe 90 Day Men makes good on the previous debut release title and affirms the word riddle, [It (Is) It] Critical Band. Where that release only hinted at the possibilities of Andy Lansangan’s keyboard and piano playing with the distinctly windy city sound that members Brian Case, Cayce Key, and Rob Lowe conjure from guitar, drum, and bass respectively, To Everybody fully embraces the ivory accompaniment and moves the band further away from easy regional classification to a more, curious era-identity crisis.

“I’ve Got Designs on You” opens the album with what sounds like Robert Plant warming up his pipes with a bass guitar and bass drum-heavy riff slinking along in the background before Brian Case’s usual slurred vocals join in harmony. This curious vocal introduction has to be that of Rob Lowe, a supreme bass player complete with righteous stage moves and one of what is noticeably a limited amount of African-Americans in what is distinctly a usual “white” indie-rock affair. It was his vocal contributions to some of [It (Is) It] like the timely screams in “Dialed In” or the introduction to “Hans Lucas” that made the record unique, never mind that I saw the guy pull off that dance move where you drop to a leg split, one leg in front and one in back, and then quickly rise again in one smooth, sweeping motion … swinging a big, ole bass none the less. Here, however, the Zeppelin-like movement in the album’s opening moments eventually becomes complex by the song’s end when Case’s speaking/singing fights to answer the equation of incongruent piano and guitar parts.

“Last Night, a DJ Saved My Life” is the Men most unlike themselves. With an almost new-wave appeal complete with resonant keyboard, this is the same 90 Day Men that released the song “Methodist” as a split single with then like-minded rockers GoGoGo Airheart, but this is 90 Day Men as they’ve never been heard before. On the album’s one instrumental song among all six (a rather small amount for a full-length), “We Blame Chicago” features Lansangan as a capable pianist and the Men’s ability to get downright psychedelic. Also featuring strong piano, “Alligator” sounds more a movement of an early 70’s British rock band than that of a Chicago indie-rock band, but the building vocal harmonies are certainly something different from 90 Day Men.

To Everybody this is not the 90 Day Men you might remember from even last year’s release, but this definitely still is the 90 Day Men you liked so much because they didn’t sound like anyone else.