Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Head of Femur

by

comment

Republican presidents reliably provoke spiteful dissent and woe-is-me wallowing from independent-minded musicians, but if the land of indie rock were Middle Earth, Head of Femur would be its hobbits: like Sam and Frodo they seem to feel a duty to keep their chins up, even when everything around them reeks of evil. On their debut CD, Ringodom or Proctor (Greyday Productions), the three expat Nebraskans sound happy-go-lucky without being dipshits about it. They're masters of the buildup, but they don't milk it to the point of exhaustion; they always move on to the next thing at the right moment. The songs go from heraldic to frantic to posttraumatic to ecstatic, but they're all so expertly put together that what in other hands might sound like layers of superficial flash (gong, horns, cello, glockenspiel, accordion, fiddle) end up being integral to the compositions, and repeat listenings continue to reveal buried treasure. (The live lineup regularly includes as many as eight people--including current or former members of Bright Eyes, the Flying Luttenbachers, Lullaby for the Working Class, and Bobby Conn's band--and not a one is just up there to look pretty.) The la-la-la backups are sometimes a bit much, and the first half of the album is considerably better than the last (which tends to drag ass), but altogether Ringodom or Proctor expresses an endearing combination of utter wonderment and real vision. Manishevitz headlines; Troubled Hubble opens. Friday, January 16, 10 PM, Gunther Murphy's, 1638 W. Belmont; 773-472-5139.

Add a comment