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Growing - Lateral

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Artist: Growing

Album: Lateral

Label: The Social Registry

Review date: Feb. 19, 2008

It’s a familiar trajectory. Dudes in rock and hardcore bands get tired of the formal constraints of said idioms so they pull out some effects pedals and see what happens. What starts with a desire to retreat from the transparency of unadorned instrumental performance or the perceived narrow geometry of rock often ends in a haze of delay and fuzz (or, more perilously perhaps, phasers and flangers). As a stylistic shift, it’s neither inherently boom nor bust, but most fail to invest enough energy and true experimentation to get past the rather stock music that such an approach initially produces.

Growing have followed this path with enough duration and intensity to make some innovative and compelling music. The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light (2004) and His Return (2005) were gloriously awash in heavy guitar drone with a meditative bent, and the first releases to garner the band significant attention. Staying true to the initial experimental impetus, they continue to tweak the formula, and in doing so, have maintained the stylistic arc described above, to the point where what was once a progression of increasing distance folds in on itself and moves toward precision and control.

This Lateral EP picks up where 2007’s Vision Swim left off – thick, dynamic and animated. Here the expected textual density is melded with an off-center sense of rhythm that sometimes recalls Black Dice (who, in some ways, share a similar stylistic transition over its history), though it’s calmer in execution.

From one perspective, the immediacy and physicality that one associates with hardcore seems to be increasingly returning to Growing. Their live sets are often visceral and loud. Kevin Doria stands hunched over his guitar bobbing in a way that resembles a metal guitarist. The music, of course, is something quite other – full of real-time quick-attack swells and noise squiggles, guitars crunched through drum machines and Kaoss pads.

The songs are mostly melodic, but melodic catharsis never seems the intent. Growing no longer sounds like rock music smeared to the point of mystery, with musicians who want to get lost in the haze. Rather, this is the music of pendulums, the music of definite systems, controlled processes unfound in the constellation of instrumental rock, arching toward a clarity of yet undefined.

By Brandon Kreitler

Other Reviews of Growing

The Sky’s Run Into The Sea

The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light

His Return

Color Wheel

All the Way


Read More

View all articles by Brandon Kreitler

Find out more about The Social Registry

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