Roadrunner Records - Slipknot's hard-hitting, aggressive metal anthems are getting…
- Posted on Nov 5th 2009 12:30PM by Kenneth Partridge
"We've never had a show without a problem," singer and guitarist Philip Ekström told the audience. "It must be some kind of energy."
Fortunately for Ekström, the Mary Onettes thrive on melodrama, heartache and earnest displays of emotion, all of which define the music of the many '80s bands -- most of them British -- that influenced the quartet's epic mope-rock sound.
The group was in Brooklyn just one day after releasing its second album, 'Islands,' a collection that nods to New Order, the Smiths, the Psychedelic Furs and scores of other bands put on this earth to enliven John Hughes soundtracks and provide comfort for lovelorn, hyper-literate adolescents.
The crowd at Union Hall was considerably older Wednesday night, but even fans who years ago traded Trapper Keepers for briefcases weren't immune to the charming likes of 'Puzzles,' the show's opening number. With its sweeping synths, insistent guitar jangle and impassioned lead vocal, the tune was unmarred by whatever instrument malfunction so distressed Ekström.
"Now I'm happy to be here," the singer said three songs later, seemingly satisfied with the sound. Despite those words, the Mary Onettes refused to smile or lighten the mood. Instead, they moved workmanlike through their material, mostly forgoing the showmanship and stylistic flourishes that once made icons of their musical heroes.
On 'God Knows I Had a Plan,' one of the night's highlights, Philip's brother Henrik ran his drumsticks through a row of wind chimes, further adding to the 'Disintegration'-era Cure vibe being created by guitarist Petter Agurén's spacious and crystalline playing.
The closing 'Under the Guillotine' featured choppy strumming and a propulsive beat reminiscent of Echo and the Bunnymen's 'Do It Clean,' a fine template for the betrayal-as-blade metaphor at the heart of Ekström's lyrics. The song was as subtle as a beheading but at least twice as much fun.