Numbers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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With puppylike excitement, the San Francisco trio Numbers mixes electronics on the verge of meltdown with the more rhythmic elements of 70s no-wave. But they're not just full of vim--they're smart too. Their severe, cagily constructed tunes reach far beyond math rock's dull precision and hardcore's embarrassing feral rage, hitting a mark that's brainy but still fun. The four tracks that constitute their first recording (soon to be released by Archigramophone, an experimental label in Portland, Oregon, as a split EP with Emergency) aren't overburdened with mounting tension: "TV Life" begins to blister in the first measure, and "Too Cool to Say Hi" piles on the two-bit pop melodies from the get-go. Eric Landmark's Moog quivers in and out of tune as if the power supply has gone bad, while his Buzzerk--a machine he constructed of loud metal buzzers--spazzes out, and guitarist Dave Broekema cranks up the dude effect with jagged chords and distorted riffs. Drummer and lead singer Indra Dunis forces out shrill, not-quite-human syllables while hauling ass on her kit, always a charming split second behind the rest of the song. It's awfully sexy when a band can make you shake your rear without blatantly pushing your buttons. Saturday, December 29, 10 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Indra Dunis.

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