"Snowblind" - +/-<
This one starts as intimate electronica, the twitchy percussion blipping with a startling three-dimensionality, while a tranquil keyboard offers muted chords and James Baluyut sings a soft series of interrupted phrases so casually he may as well be talking. It's 50 seconds before we hear a guitar, and what it gives us at first is a careful, reverberant line that joins in with the calm itchiness thus far unfolding.
Calm itchiness is not going to hold, of course. At 1:48, as the lyrics tell us that there is "no way to draw the poison out," the guitar breaks from its noodly mode and offers a ringing rhythm with the most wonderful chords--chords that sound at once central and off-center, urgent and restrained, obvious and oblique. This goes on for half a minute; it's interesting, come to think of it, that the guitar solo is all rhythm rather than lead. Interesting too that without an obvious chorus, the solo comes as a surprise, and not just for its volume and texture. We haven't been prepared for it by the song's structure. When Baluyut returns, he's singing in a higher register, still the same sort of interrupted phrases, and then here's the moment I, somehow, love most of all: at 3:36, when he leaps to falsetto and holds the word "you" through a downward series of notes (in classical music, they'd call that a melisma), twice. By now the flurry of guitar and full-fledged drumming is all but blizzard-like, creating an aural version of the title's state (which, lyrically, is metaphorical, not actual).
"Snowblind" is from the new +/- (say "Plus/Minus") album, Xs On Your Eyes. This is the Brooklyn-based trio's fourth, and it's due out this week on Absolutely Kosher Records. MP3 via Absolutely Kosher.