764-Hero - Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere

Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere
Tiger Style

If anybody remembers the time around 1995 when John Adkins and Polly Johnson formed 764-Hero and released their first recordings on Up Records, they are likely to remember that that they started out as a duo, much in the style of the Spinanes. Why go back to such olden days? Well, simply to reinforce the point that Adkins and Johnson, whose interaction extends the use of a single guitar by alternating between (and sometimes blending) rhythmic and leading parts while make the drums work as more than just a rhythmic instrument, is largely a two-person outfit. The departure of ex-Lync and Red Stars Theory bassist James Bertram after roughly three years and two records of service, and the addition of Modest Mouse touring bassist Robin P for Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere, just reaffirms the point.

If this is the case, then what is to be thought of the bass player? Is he superfluous, or as the medieval scholastics loved saying, nugatory? Robin Perringer seems to enter Hero at an artistic disadvantage, especially when Johnson and Adkins are both the originators and the only active veterans on the roster. This is not a question of musical ability. One listen to this record will dispel any notion that Perringer is a mediocre bass player-–on time, melodic, and a more than welcome addition to the band. But he perhaps sticks to sounding a bit much like Bertram, whose style is so recognizable. It’s difficult being a new arrival in an already established institution .At the beginning you quickly learn that you have to get a feel for things by following the natives

Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere is evidence that, 764-Hero are the direct descendants of the Pacific Northwest’s indie-rock nobility–the above-mentioned Spinanes, Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, or anything to come out of Up or Rx Remedy Records. They completely sidestepped the God-awful grunge thing by being too young, were two steps ahead of Sunny Day Real Estate and the ensuing movement people love and hate to dub emo and have ensconced themselves in the brooding silence and obscurity generated by departure of the press and the tourists all craning their necks to bear witness to the next Seattle. After six years or so, the band gives us a record filled with the promise of whatever indie rock was meant to offer us– solid, thoughtful, and angular-without-coming-off-as-pretentious rock. The album opener, "Oceanbound," begins with a vortex of a guitar hook that pulls you into the song, and does not let you go until you’ve meandered through its intoxicating rhythmic and thematic changes. " You Were a Party" drips with irony, a deep and personal criticism of those who go to great lengths to be socially accepted set against the most danceable song the band has ever released. Songs such as ‘answers’ and ‘at the surface’ are fantastic studies in restrained dynamism, with each song becoming progressively busier and louder. The band’s command of the mid-tempo rocker is displayed frequently in "the Long Arm of the Law," "skylines," "Satellites," "Confetti Confessional,"’ and "Shoot a 45", where they stretch out time with a tense languor.

The best visual analogy for their music is expressed by the cover of their record– a collage whose background is composed of pictures of varieties of grass in shades of green, upside-down, right side up, in various angles of profile and elevation. At the bottom of the image, in front of the fragmented field of green is an aggregation of pastel-tinged images of skyscrapers. Some have their sides cut out, replaced with a plain block of color without the windows and other structural elements that we come to recognize as belonging to a building. Visually and aurally, Nobody Knows this is Everywhere is beautiful and unsettling; a jagged collection of fragments attempting to form a whole.