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August 2, 2006

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Atlanta’s Snowden unleash the latest in American post-shoegaze with Anti-Anti, their Jade Tree debut. The band recorded with the help of Erik Wofford (The Black Angels, Explosions in the Sky, My Morning Jacket) which clearly aided in attaining such a melodic, dark, and expansive sound. Principal songwriter Jordan Jeffares sounds affected like Paul Banks and Sam Prekop singing a duet. To his credit he commands a bigger and better sound with more balls when it comes to charging up the guitars. Anti-Anti is dreamy, punctual, and consistent while it hovers over a hypnotizing, dark cloud. Monotone vocals, overdriven guitars, and stop-and-go rhythms leave dents as Snowden channel some early nineties favorites (Ride, Kitchens of Distinction, Moose) without sounding anything like a “shoegaze” band.

Anti-Anti succeeds by allowing the guitars to soar in reverb-soaked pools, acting as the rhythm for the rest of the band to follow, see ?°»My Murmuring Darling’, ?°»Black Eyes’, and the heavy riff on the title track ?°»Anti-Anti’. The rhythm section begins to feel more open and free with constant changes and shifting structures. Jordan’s singing is definitely more rhythmic and static as he matches the intensity of every song in equal measure. This reversal of the noise-pop formula makes for an extremely clever and dynamic listen. But what I love best about this record is how it sounds like such a natural maturation of sound as it mixes genres that seem tired on their own (shoegaze and post-punk). For a debut album Snowden demonstrate a beautiful progression in sound and form that most American bands never achieve.

Rating: Highly Recommended