Sunday, August 21, 2011

An Asa Ransom Release

Asa Ransom graced New York with it's presence in June of 2008. The band came together in Marion, Indiana a few years earlier, but it wasn't until Jacob Bills, Daniel Voivin, Darryl Specht met Bobby Gray in New York that the bunch of them banded together to form Asa Ransom. Not even a year into their existence and the band have already played the NY circuit to death and recorded their debut album, An Asa Ransom Release.

It's almost hard to believe that this band has only really been a band for nine months judging by the song craft on An Asa Ransom Release. This is clearly a band that has gotten itself together, organized, formed a plan, and adopted a gang mentality in an effort to create a really good record. By about the third song, it's obvious that this approach is working as An Asa Ransom Release is a superb debut from a band who are well beyond their err months (you can't even say years because this band is THAT new).

An Asa Ransom Release is something like a David Byrne record intermixed with Siouxsie and the Banshees guitar riffs, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds theatrics. It's an intense record that embraces a post punk philosophy and then shakes it up a bit into some strange concoction that doesn't seem right but sounds moody, dark, and bloody brilliant. It's a weirdrecord that somehow manages to be poppy while still being angular and a bit atonal. It's constantly changing it's atmospherics but keeps that philosophy of taking things that are accepted and turning them into something more. Check out the oddly titled, "Man With Tuba and Wife," or the rolling tribal drums and twisted story of, "Strangeways In Pale of Splendor," for shining examples of their philosophy.

With such bizarre titles, Asa Ransom might come off as a bit pretentious. But, in all honestly, when you have tunes that can back up the pretentiousness, who really cares if the songs read like twisted pieces of art work created by guys who smoke clove cigarettes? An Asa Ransom Release, doesn't care and as a result it's a brilliant thrill ride that plunders post punk, theater, kitsch, and rock and roll to create a heady stew of music that's completely over our heads but still finds a way to hit us where it hurts.

Asa Ransom might not even be a year old yet, but after listening to An Asa Ransom Release this is a band that sounds better than some of their veteran peers. They write fantastic pop songs that are twisted and dynamic and unafraid to try new things. By adopting such a philosophy so early on in their careers they might just make it past their's hoping anyway.

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