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Album Review

Antietam's third album was the one where all the parts finally came together. After a too low-key self-titled debut and an all-over-the-map follow-up, the Louisville-to-Hoboken trio finally got the balance right here, balancing passages of lulling introspection with a newfound tightness and aggression. Losing second bassist Wolf Knapp (mainstay Tim Harris remains, along with singer/guitarist Tara Key and new drummer Charles Schultz) changes the group's sound in an important way. As a result, Key's guitar takes a much more prominent role than before; adding a more controlled use of feedback and overtones to her sound, she makes up the depth of Knapp's rubbery, rhythmic playing while adding a whole new tonal color to the group's sound. One wonders if producers Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley were taking notes, since it was only after the duo produced Burgoo that their own band, Yo La Tengo, started playing in earnest with the kind of guitar sustain and feedback-overlaid tension that drives songs like "Imagining Green" and "Eaten Up By Hate." Kaplan also adds some appropriately fuzz-toned organ work to the opening and closing tracks. Burgoo is a transitional record, and it wouldn't be until the following Everywhere Outside that Antietam would make a flat-out terrific album, but this is much closer to the mark than before.


Formed: 1984

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the more underrated bands on the early-'90s indie rock scene, Antietam is the South's answer to Yo La Tengo, injecting the studied urban coolness of the Hoboken trio with some fiery Southern rock brio, especially in frontwoman Tara Key's impressive guitar work, which at times suggests a post-punk Lynyrd Skynyrd making nice with Neil Young after that whole "Sweet Home Alabama" thing. Like Yo La Tengo, however, this trio did their growing up in public. Key and her bass-playing boyfriend Tim...
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Burgoo, Antietam
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