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In spite of a relatively short career, regularly disrupted by its musicians' involvement in parallel bands (most notably singer/guitarist Andrew Lund's bass-playing duties with labelmates the Mass), San Francisco power trio, Lower Forty-Eight have still achieved widespread notoriety for their dynamic fusion of indie, noise, math rock, and other such post-hardcore music forms. 2006's Apertures is the group's fourth release since forming in the year 2000, and its ten, thoroughly well arranged tracks produce a varied but stylistically unified, self-conscious racket. Inventive examples like "Mass Denial, Massive Guilt," "Desperate Signs" and "I Am A Rogue State" lurch forward on cycling noise rock riffs — part Helmet, part Unsane — as ominous as low-hanging clouds; but Lower Forty-Eight frequently let musical sunshine filter through in the shape of uplifting melodies and densely harmonic chords, lending all of the above a surprisingly relevant aftertaste of '90s alt rock. The group is also unafraid to take some chances in the realm of softer sonic nuances, stretching out quite a bit on progressive six-minute explorations like "Blaue Augen," "Slay Tracks" and "The Ring"; all of which tend to render more simplistic hardcore outbursts like "Afterlie" and "Seventh Sight," rather forgettable. Through all of the above, Lund's vocals often seem a little secondary in importance, but one gets the feeling that they could figure more prominently in the grand scheme of Lower Forty-Eight's organized cacophony, if only he desired them to. As it stands, let's say they're effective and unobtrusive to Apertures' evident instrumental focus — and that's more than compelling enough to recommend this album to all fans of challenging post-hardcore.

Apertures, Lower Forty-Eight
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