JUNE OF 44
June of 44 guitarist Jeff Mueller claims that he and his band mates have sworn off the seafaring motif that informed their 1995 debut, Engine Takes to Water; its follow-up, Tropics and Meridians; and last year's EP, The Anatomy of Sharks. I haven't heard the first record, but the band's new release, Four Great Points (Quarterstick), does blow the last two out of the water. Two years have passed since the recording of the EP, and during that time June of 44 has evolved from post-rock into pre-something-else, a hypnotic blend of rock, dub, ambient, and orchestral pop. Most of the songs begin with a simple but solid hook; dropped into the harmonic pond it blossoms into a series of variations that move farther and farther from the center. Even when the center disappears--as it does midway through the otherworldly "Lifted Bells"--it can still be felt through the ripples. Perhaps this is the handiwork of drummer Doug Scharin, who has dabbled in dub with his solo project, Him. In any case, Scharin really comes into his own on Four Great Points, supplying a wide range of samples and percussive coloration. Bob Weston deserves a tip of the hat as well for his crystal-clear production, which outdistances his work on Tropics and Meridians. Whether June of 44 can summon this fever dream onstage remains to be seen. Saturday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 773-525-6620. J.R. JONES
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Rbt. Weston Photography.