By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Jonny Bell has a gullet-shredding yell that'd fit in just fine with your average hardcore outfit. But his band's music makes it tough to imagine the guy performing anywhere near studded belts or shitty rock-club bathrooms. No, when listening to Tentacles, the debut full-length from Crystal Antlers, you envision stranger places: circuses, deserts, big blue oceans, saloons—the old-timey, Wild West kind, not the kind where you get jacked on Red Bull and mosh to Bleeding Through.
Blame organist Victor Rodriguez. He splashes the entire album with cartoon colors, starting with the video-poker headache of opener "Painless Sleep" and ending with the big-screen, M83-like space hum of "Several Tongues." But things really get weird—and kinda sweet—when guitarists Andrew King and Errol Davis turn their instruments into steam whistles, drummer Kevin Stuart bashes out somersaulting rhythms and Bell plays spastic punk bass under his spastic punk screaming.
The album's a mess. Luckily, it's a mess you can jump around to.
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