Some post-hardcore Hoover expansiveness...
It would probably be a while before I got round to posting this, if I waited until I could put together my own words to describe what is an absolute beauty of an album. So for the moment at least, I'm lifting this part of a post from Egg City Radio, formerly Post Punk Junk. It's not too much of a crime, I think, as most of it is lifted from other reviews in the first place. Of course, there are a few words I will say anyway:
Namely that Abilene, the most recent of Alex Dunham's post-Hoover bands, is a tale of two groups - essentially, one with Fred Erskine, and one (of this album) without. I think to explain the difference it would be easiest to direct you to tracks #6 and #9 of the Hoover mixtape. Personally, although I discovered the second album Two Guns, Twin Arrows first, Abilene is the subtle, slow-burning winner of the contest between them. Just about.
“Presumably named for the central Texas town, Abilene is a Chicago trio with a rich, deep sound. Their songs focus on the fluid, dynamic interplay between guitar and bass. The bass provides a comfortable, sidling groove for the guitar(s) to dance around; sometimes it’s a slow waltz, sometimes an amphetamine-fueled breakdance, but regardless of the mood, that assured bass groove keeps things smooth. Busy, syncopated percussion makes these songs intensely rhythmic. Occasionally singer (and guitarist) Alex Dunham adds bleak, muttering vocals, but the words are spread sparsely throughout Abilene’s songs, as the band members are more interested in their instruments’ quiet synergy. Every so often, Abilene builds to a rough, angular crescendo that seems to release a bit of the boxed-up electricity of their moody pieces, but for the most part their songs are all about low-tempo restraint that places equal focus on each instrument…(t)he members of this trio are all accomplished musicians, as a look at their respective resumes will indicate: Dunham formerly served in little-known post-punk greats Regulatorwatts and Hoover. Bassist Craig Ackerman was in Lustre King and drummer Scott Anderson was in Chisel Drill Hammer.”
- Jesse Ashlock, Epitonic
"The above description might make the band sound like a ton of other post-rock combos from the same era, such as the incredible The For Carnation, but a strange devotion to the emo leanings of its own yesteryear, coupled with dense and focused composition, sets Abilene apart. I always love to highlight songs that make for great bike ride listening, since I do spend an hour each day as I ride back and forth from work, and the Abilene song “October” is a killer. A reviewer named Jim Steed at fakejazz.com put it best:"
“…the guitar and bass parts are much more interesting, following a swirling pattern for a very hypnotic effect. The payoff here soars, the guitar changing sound, turning into an approaching pack of jet planes poised for attack."