August 15-21, 2002
By jettisoning their math rock pretensions for something more melodic, Hey Mercedes is also breaking with its past -- as three-fourths of emo-pioneers Braid. Elements of their former self peek out at intervals on their 2001 debut, Everynight Fire Works, but from the crisp production to the more restrained, tuneful vocals, everything about Hey Mercedes points in a poppier, more palatable direction. The makeover is nothing as dramatic as Pat Boone's foray into metal; indeed, much of the dynamism of Braid's guitars is retained with buzzing, anthemic chords cut by understated, linear leads counter-pointing the quartet's busy rhythmic pulse. At The TLA this Monday, they're joined by the bouncing keyboard-heavy sound of Koufax. Usually found on the musical continuum between the prog-rock '70s and the new wave '80s, Koufax appears to stake out new territory on their forthcoming album, Social Life (Vagrant). Dropping in a few dollops of hometown Motor City soul, the music showcases greater heft, a more muscular, infectious mesh of guitars and synthesizers, as well their best songwriting to date. The new approach stands out as the year's best revelation since Dubya choked on a pretzel.
Mon., Aug. 19, 8 p.m., $10.50-$12.50, with Piebald, The TLA, 334 South St., 215-336-2000.
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