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Thomas Comerford is an old-school believer in rock music who treats it as a serious art form--hell, the guy teaches a class on punk rock at the School of the Art Institute. His band Kaspar Hauser has just released a fine new album called The Sons (Spacesuit) that’s more concerned with tweaking fundamentals than discovering radical new twists.
Comerford and his current bandmates--bassist Matthew Seifert, drummer Steve Kiraly, and fellow guitarist Stephen Howard (Pinebender, Tight Phantomz)--place their faith in the kind of rock-solid attack that relies on an intimate and innate rapport between band members, the kind Joe Carducci once used an entire book to elucidate. Considering how often Kaspar Hauser’s lineup has changed over the years, the accomplishment is all the more impressive. The twin guitars burn and surge, moving precisely within the lean grooves.
Comerford’s nasal singing voice reminds me of Bill Callahan--though he sounds more engaged than Callahan--and I hear traces of Neil Young and the Rolling Stones in his tunes; “Frontier” mashes up lines from “House of the Rising Sun” and “In My Room.” He wrote the songs after the birth of his first child, and most of them reflect a kind of reckoning with adulthood, frequently observing childish behavior veering into crisis.
Kaspar Hauser celebrates the new release with a show tonight at the Beat Kitchen. Also performing are Jon Langford’s Skull Orchard and the Judy Green.