When I told a friend via cell phone that a band called A Lull was about to take the stage at the recently completed Pitchfork Music Festival his response was, “A what?”
“A Lull,” I said.
“Wow, they really are running out of names, aren’t they?” he responded, incredulously.
Possibly uninspired moniker aside, Chicago’s A Lull went on to deliver a dynamic, percussively driven set that drew heavily from the band’s 2011 full-length, Confetti, and this year’s EP, Meat Mountain, a title that seems to have little conceptual connection to the songs that accompany it.
Frontdude Nigel Evan Dennis’ high-pitched vocals belie his burly visage and are largely used to complement the five-piece outfit’s expansive, curiously constructed songs, which are almost always driven by a pair of expressive drummers (we’ll be intrigued to see how they’re positioned on MOTR’s diminutive stage).
“Summer Dress,” Meat Mountain’s opener, brings to mind Yeasayer’s keyboard-aided bouncers, with sporadic saxophone bleats and other sonic goodies adding texture to the hypnotic employment of bass and drums. “Still Got Pull,” another of the EP’s five songs, has a slightly darker edge, making deft use of clanging guitar drones amid its spacier use of rhythms.
Best of all is the ambiguously titled “Not About It,” which opens with a dreamy, mood-altering vibe that brings to mind early-’80s Peter Gabriel before morphing into something else entirely, an ebb-and-flow wonder highlighted by the intertwining, largely lyrically unintelligible vocals of Dennis and drummer Todd Miller. It’s an unexpected turn, which is what this sometimes-hazy band delivers in spades.
A LULL performs Thursday, Aug. 2 at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine with Darlene. Check out performance times and get venue details here.