Iran – April


The music of San Francisco natives, Iran, has been described as “almost-catchy.” This is appropriate as their material harbors more traditional rock and pop forms embedded in a malestrom of electronic noise and samples. But rather than be obscured beneath a collage of feedback, melodies and vocals are dissolved into the sonic mix. The pop and hiss of the vocal s’s and p’s seem to merge with and even spark similar amplified sounds, both organic and electronic in origin. Unusual moods are built out of the shimmering guitar lines dancing amid tumultuous waves of distorted radio broadcasts and feedback. Bringing together something simple and beautiful with an overwhelming and ugly wall of noise may defile that beauty. Iran occasionally suffers this fate, but in taking the risk, seems just as likely to accentuate the beauty by elevating it to a new level amid a sea of aural diharrea.

“April” is a much softer composition than any of the pieces on their self-titled debut. Even though there is not the same degree of chaotic noise in this song, there is a similar interplay between conventional structure and less traditional sound elements. Strung-out vocals fill the mix beneath the shadow of a weird falsetto and a hazy guitar. Embellishments quietly swirl in a continual ebb and flow, often in the form of a robot language like that of R2D2. An electric bass rumbles, marking the time in a drawn-out manner. The mood of the piece reminds one of old-time southern music: blues, spirituals, and back-country lullabyes. If Pole produces music which is the essential hiss and scratch left over after you take the deep bass out of dub, “April” is the ultimately stripped down version of a sad country song – albeit with many elements replaced by electronic noise or ommitted altogether.

Forming a static opinion about this band is all but impossible. When in the right mood, little else will scratch your itch, but listening on a regular basis, one is likely to grow weary of Iran’s approach to musical reassembly.