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Numbers - Now You Are This

Released on Kill Rock Stars, 8/21/07

Here in San Francisco we like our art rock-y and our rock arty. There is none of this straight shooting standardized expressionism that may come out of a place like, say, Los Angeles. I'm not saying that straight shooting standardized expressionism is bad, boring or brittle. I thrive on routine just like the millions of other people addicted to Bravo TV and popcorn during a movie. What I am saying is I love this fair city for the unique spin it imposes upon just about every and any thing it can get its grimy paws on.

And what I am doing is making a gross, un-researched generalization to prove a point. Take, for example, the giant bronze statue of an eagle man under the 101 exit ramp. It has taken me six years to notice this and I love it; the lone eagle man standing with head toward heaven and wings at his sides. What is he thinking?

So, how about San Francisco’s art-rock drone-dance darlings Numbers? Their latest album, Now You Are This, pretty much sums up the feel I am going for here. It’s erratic, mysterious, noisy and beautiful while still managing to harsh up the mellows and smooth out the bumps. These three have managed to create a wonderful opposition within their sound that is both repellant and attractive, and they do it with style and grace.

I have to admit. I didn’t really like Now You Are This at first. I was doing my routine daily 34-mile saunter on ye olde treadmill, popped this sucker on and took a listen while panting, drinking water, watching TV, and staring at the mile counter. I fear the album’s intricacies were lost on me. Each song sounded similar and I suppose I was looking for more of a party vibe to cheer me on whilst I busted ye olde ass.

I think Queen’s “We are the Champions” would have been more appropriate. Anyway, needless to say I took a few more listens and began to pick up on some of those intricacies. Vocally the album is gorgeous. Led by Indra Dunis and backed by Eric Landmark and Dave Broekema, together they make a harmonizing, chanting machine of beauty and fear.

“Kosmos Love” is a classic, the drums are insistent, thy keys are melodic, the backing drone is steady and “Kosmos Love” is repeated like a mantra, all three voices melding into one another. “Hey Hey Dream” is what truly drew me in. It simply slays. It has qualities about it similar to lablemates Deerhoof, but in addition to and above this, a psychedelic Motown feel like none other. Like an R&B inspired The United States of America. All in all, the album is an exploratory dark pop, lite rock, shoegazey party for your ears and your mind!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars