Point – Aquila Bert

Aquila Bert

Some bands can really fool you. Just listening to the first track of their album, or even the first few bars of a song, can give you a totally askew impression of their sound. For instance, listening to “Girls and Boys,” the first track off of Blur’s Parklife, you might get the impression they were some sort of poppy Pet Shop Boys impersonation. In a similar bit of misunderstanding, the first few bar’s of Point’s “Yellow Hut” brought to mind the swirling guitar layers of space-rock. Indeed, the strummed, reverberated, lush chords that open up the first track recall My Bloody Valentine more than the post-punk guitar rock of Sonic Youth, the style into which this band eventually falls.

A quintet of veterans from the Prague music scene, Point have released their debut album, Aquila Bert, as a joint venture between a couple of European labels, Silver Rocket and Minority Records. As mentioned before, they play a style of post punk not totally dissimilar to the anguished guitar burn of Sonic Youth, and occasionally letting their guitar launch into the realm of space-rock. Indeed, Point’s most effective songs come when they let their guitars seethe through the mix, playing around each other like a couple of squeamish children. “G R S +” and “Yellow Hut” excellent examples of the chiming, mounting, guitar thrust this band can build up.

The band, however, is primarily song-based, for they never let their guitar indulgences slip into the long, droning instrumentals so prevalent in space-rock. Rather, they keep vocalist Jan Kjecar constantly employed – his vocals always return before the guitars can spin out of control. All things considered, Kjecar has a pretty decent indie rock voice. Far more melodic than the shouting style of Ian Mackaye, his voice crafts melodies that are sharp and biting but rarely stick in your head. He has a rasp in his voice that blends nicely with the guitar squall behind him, but never does he lose control and begin to scream.

If you’ve read all that and are still sort of wondering what the hell Point sounds like, you’ve probably got a case. I’ve sort of been dodging the question, simply because I don’t quite know how to describe this band’s sound. They’re pretty typical indie writers – they focus primarily on the guitars. There songs are often angular without being overly abrasive. Sometimes they assume the aggressive stomp of Fugazi, sometimes they have the low-key charm of Pavement, and other times they lapse into fuzzy guitar interplay a la Sonic Youth. They sound unique without being original. If Point is any indication of the kind of band Prague can produce, then there could be some awfully talented bands hiding there. And it’s not that Point aren’t talented, its just that they sound a bit average. Don’t let them fool you.