History Invades – The Structure of a Precise Fashion

History Invades
The Structure of a Precise Fashion

Behind the clever song titles and flashy artwork of History Invades’ debut label release lies a turbulent blend of guitar-based emo-core, manipulated samples, and hard rhythms. On the rare occasions when the band tones it down a bit, the angular guitar cadences and syncopated beats approximate those of early Modest Mouse. But where head Mouse Isaac Brock’s twisted lyrics and edgy vocals intensify their music, the vocals on The Structure of a Precise Fashion, courtesy of Paul Albert Harper, are anything but insouciant and more often than not are irritating outcries.

History Invades consists of the aforementioned Harper, who not only lends his grating howl but also guitar, samples, and manipulations. His partner in crime is another of the three-name people in Daniel Scott Mayberry, entrusted with drums, percussion, electronics, and pads. They show off their imaginations with the name of the album and astute song titles like “Call Me Mint Jelly ‘Cause I’m on the Lamb” and “We Ran Out of Bridges So We Burned Down Our Houses,” but musically they lack the same creativity.

Even with the production help of Starflyer 59’s Jason Martin, the songs are deficient in originality and fail to get a groove on. Most of the tunes are punk-leaning indie-guitar fare with a pastiche of effects, electronic sound manipulations, and Harper’s visceral vocals. Sometimes Harper actually tries his hand at singing, which is a good thing, but like a dog woken from sleep, his demeanor quickly changes and he resorts to screaming and yelling. The one standout track is “Here Comes the Smart Patrol,” which is not quite the quirky electronics of Devo but is an IDM instrumental piece (yeah!) similar in style to Boards of Canada, a welcome break from the guitar and effect histrionics.

History Invades strives hard not to be ordinary with the use of many guitar treatments and bizarre samples, but the complex mix comes out disjointed and changes directions so quickly there’s nothing to grab on to. And then there’s the screaming. The rants are too distracting and don’t allow the listener to focus on the music. If they really want us to listen to what they have to say, stop yelling and sing!