Tuckered is the feeling you have after meeting CONCENTUS. The Panoply Academy's third proper release is, of course, a progression, though unexpectedly mutated like some genetically engineered seeds. All of the shambled sounds and floating ideas of the previous releases have sprung forth, their ambiguity still at the forefront, yet perhaps they've become less anxious to assert it. Performing under a new suffix, the Panoply Academy is no longer afraid to play rock music or look at the audience or even act like musicians. Panoply singer Darin Glenn squeaks and hocks part-nonsensical lyrics on each song. Guitarist Marty Sprowles scratches the strings into hummable starting points before the other two bat back-and-forth. The rhythmic structures of drummer Ryan Hicks and bassist Pete Schreiner and are not pretty; their locomotive lurches forth and derails without advanced notice. Odd time changes abound on CONCENTUS, every song is fractured into slivers. At any given time, there is part CHAIRS MISSING here or a stutter-stop of a US Maple there and the lyrical callback of Gang of Four. And within the cracked everyday electronics are impacted deep, subliminal glitches. But remember, this is still rock music, modern music. The album is composed of nine songs, grouped into threes, each group making up its own suite. In their live show, the songs all collide together, making the individual songs almost indistinguishable to the unknowing ear, creating something of a carnival. "50%", in and of itself, is its own mini-suite, with a true pop song up front, a yodel/trumpet duet in the middle and the last minute sounding like the first minute of "Teenage Wasteland." "Cash in Your Coffin" begins with a guitar tone-poem and snaps into something, some agitated, spastic refrain or rumba that the kids will eat up, and then it's gone. "Nar Nar Nar" and "The Entertainers" are the singles. CONCENTUS was recorded with Jim Kuczkowski at the Engine Room and Marmoset's LonPaul Ellrich at his house, in the dowry, both located inside Indianapolis, Indiana. The Panoply Academy formed in Bloomington, Indiana, during the fall of 1996 and have since undergone some line-up and subsequent name changes.
(SC033 released: 04/17/00)