Lower Automation – Maps

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Lower Automation – Maps

It’s all about the timing with the Chicago math-rock trio. Can anyone still use the term ‘math-rock’? I don’t come across it so often these days but that isn’t preventing Lower Automation from making the sort of music that you can tell contains a cleverly-formed equation at its centre, or quite near to there. Their first release, Maps is a five track mini-album that shows how Lower Automation has perfected the double-timed, nerve-jangling, corrosive and crucially, entirely lacking in repetition sound that a band such as Lower Automation need to be able to make to really carry it all off with flying colours and they do this with a combination of speed playing and rhythmic invention that is the hallmark of a band whose music is at a level above merely competent.

The five tracks on Maps jar against rather than complement each other as do the instruments on each individual track. That the EP is even listenable says much about the instrumental and production talents on display here.

Of course I am also displaying an attribute of my own here, and that is (for want of a better phrase) ignorance, in as much as I am aware that there is a growing scene of bands playing experimental noise-rock in and around Illinois and that listening to Maps has made the existence of Lower Automatic and their contemporaries known to me, bands that are taking the blueprints laid down by the likes of the Spinto Band and Minus The Bear and bringing a more propulsive, less collegiate approach to their music.

Their combination of thrash-type shredding, tightly contained and electronica-influenced song structures and the continuous redefining of their sound reveals Lower Automatic as a band with much to offer anyone that appreciates inventive and unpredictabe guitar rock. Listening to Maps confirms that the final math-rock equation is a very long way from its solution.