Tony Malaby’s tense melody on album opener “Minimalism/416-538-7149” perfectly sets the tone for the piece and the rest of the album that follows. His minor, dark tonalities are surrounded by oscillating strings with Fraser’s textural drum approach serving as the group’s glue.
“Minimalism” serves as a concise rundown of the band’s skills as they quickly move from abstract beginnings to a more hectic climax without over-emphasizing any particular level of energy. As the album moves forward more exploration is done and time spent on specific levels of energy and dynamics, however, by lightly touching upon the band’s conception of sound development, “Minimalism” obtains a lot of replay value.
The group’s aesthetic is extraordinarily malleable with any player prone to work in the foreground or background depending on the stage of the song’s development. This dynamic aspect of the ensemble’s sound conception is accomplished through the lack of stagnant root. Fraser dances around the meter expertly while the absence of piano, an instrument prone to chordal repetition, allows the group to be extremely collective as all of their ideas may bounce off of each other in the non-hierarchical space. Another symptom of the piano-less void is a certain lightness that the songs carry. On this track in particular the plucking strings complement Malaby’s staccato.
Starer is a fantastic album. It’s development and dynamicism combine for a beautiful level of musicality with the quick-hitting natures of the song maintaining the attention of the audience through every nook and cranny.