D&T leave no musical stone unturned on this one. The guitar work recalls Modest Mouse, darkish compositions that seem at once free-wheeling and metronomically precise. The diverse instruments dart in front of and behind one another hypnotically. Each gets a shot at being the lead, the rhythm, the conceptual centerpiece. This is math rock at its finest, but don't let the term "math" dissuade you. The music is technically amazing in its painstaking construction, but its intellect is not of the overwrought and emotionally detached sort one might often associate with the genre. There's even a reworking of the Minutemen's "God Bows to Math," a very cool touch.
At root, Drums & Tuba sound like Tortoise with bass lines performed on tuba. This is a good thing for a world starved for inspiring instrumental post-rock. Other woodwinds are implicated, angular percussion punctuates the songs, melodies come and go, a guitar comes into and out of focus Fripp style, and odd noises meander through the tracks. Alternatively contemplative and boppy, airy and dense, this one should be filed alongside Tortoise, Brokeback, Isotope 217 and your other favorite post-rockers. Influences are too many to enumerate -- for instance, Track 12 is based on klezmer, which makes sense for a band with a tuba! The music could also be filed with trance-inspired drum and bass on the jazzier side, such as Amon Tobin. Drums and Tuba, who hail from New York by way of Austin, thankfully prove that post-rock can survive outside of the rarefied air of Chicago.
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