Italian quartet Montag makes a huge splash with its debut release Trepezzi: half an hour of hard-edged, quality post-rock in the vein of Neil On Impression. We’ve missed this sort of music. Montag isn’t trying to lull or cross over; the concentration is on tight melodies, well-timed interplay and fierce riffing. Add splendid stereo mastering and high replay value; there’s not much more one can ask from a debut.
Two part opener “Ernst Aller Ton” may even be a classic. At over 150 b.p.m., this raucous jam contains absolutely zero filler. Each instrument (bass, drums, two guitars) is given its own sonic space so that each player can be appreciated. With each player assigned a main speaker, it’s easy to hear the trades being made. Guitar A hands the baton to Guitar B; Guitar B hands the baton to the drums; the drums hand the baton to the bass. Central themes are introduced early and return late. The “slow part” arrives at 1:33 of Part I, a half-time sequence that is way too loud to be called a breakdown. Part II’s opening echoes this sequence with unbilled electronics, providing pleasant shades of 65dos. And then, ROAR! The speakers blow up; the crowd goes wild.
At this point, one might expect to encounter some ambient filler, but Montag chooses instead to keep on rocking. No complaints here. This is music for dancing, jamming out, jumping in place with arms extended. “Kisobran” tops 160 b.p.m. before entering a brief contemplative phase, only as long as this sentence. Sure, one might repeat such a passage 20 or 40 times, but why not introduce the drum roll right away? The drummer has had a lot of coffee, and his energy is contagious. Soon the entire band joins him. This is followed by a second interlude (too short for an espresso break), creating a contrast between loud and louder.
Sampled crowd noise is present in the two-part closer, “Auf Weidershen, Dan Peterson”. (Peterson is an American basketball coach who became an Italian basketball coach, retiring in 2011.) Finally the band allows itself to wax rhapsodic, having purchased our patience with its previous pummeling. In the outro, the band gives in to the rock one final time. “One more song!” chant the fans. “One more song!” But they will have to wait for the follow-up. Let’s hope it arrives soon. (Richard Allen)
Not to be confused with Montag, the Montreal-based electronic artist.
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