Clear Plastic Masks, Sabers, Minneapolis Henrys | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Clear Plastic Masks, Sabers, Minneapolis Henrys Early Warnings (Music) Recommended

When: Sun., April 13, 8:30 p.m. 2014

This newish quintet started out as a recording project for Josh Chicoine, best known from his time in the M's, but over time it's evolved into a fully functioning band of scene veterans: drummer Colby Starck (Head of Femur, Bobby Conn), keyboardist and trumpeter Dave Max Crawford (Poi Dog Pondering), bassist Edward Anderson (the 1900s), and guitarist Shane Schroeder (Hot as Hell). The project's self-released debut album, Sic Semper Sabers (this show is a release party), opens with the sly, coolly lilting "Armchair Warriors," which builds from a sparse groove into a shambling, restrained, psych-flavored pop song; on the insinuating melody, Chicoine channels Ray Davies with an almost conversational tone. Nothing else matches that peak, and I suspect that Chicoine can tell that some of the material feels half done, because he tends to smother his Marc Bolan-style croon with unnecessary layers of sound—thick horns, meandering guitar solos, keyboards that often do nothing but fill space. I'm hoping that working with a regular band (the album was nearly done before this lineup came together) will help him flesh out and tighten up his ideas. —Peter Margasak

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