Hailing from Brooklyn, and boasting a uniquely eclectic approach, Rhyton offer an interesting look into their psychedelic-infused post-rock dynamic on their first self-titled release for Thrill Jockey. The album’s opener, “Stone Colored,” starts off with a slow, but steady bass riff backed with jazzy rhythms. Slowly but surely, the band develops a guitar riff that guides the song toward its distant conclusion. And with this mellow, measured and carefully paced rhythm, “Stone Colored” sets the pace for what the rest of the album has to offer.
The tone and progression of the music on the album begin to change as the listener digs deeper into it. Two tracks maintain lengthy running times, and often integrate the same guitar effects that, really, are the only guiding sounds within each song. “Dale Odaliski” is more ambient in tone, the only track that shifts away from the conventions of all the other tracks. In a way, it stands out since it doesn’t involve any form of shredding guitars, but rather a mash-up of effects that kind of remind me of a tripped out German Expressionist film. “Teke” has its own forms of ambience, but it’s surrounded with the same elements that have already been introduced beforehand, and showcases layers of beating drums and cymbals, more guitar effects, some background piano and more jazz influence in its bassline. “Pontian Grave,” another long jam, clocking in at 12 minutes, carries the same dynamic as “Stone Colored,” and altogether very little variation. By the closing track “Shank Raids,” the band’s pace picks up considerably, bursting with varied and unique instrumental patterns.
On my first listen to Rhyton’s debut, I was reminded a bit of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and his work outside of The Mars Volta. The conventions of progressive and psychedelic rock are present on this album, however with Rhyton, there aren’t nearly as many layers, nor as much depth. But there are other parallels to be drawn with the sinewy basslines of Tortoise, and the raw, yet slow burning intensity of Slint. In spite of these similarities, the album gets mired down in its overly repetitive instrumental progressions. While there’s a lot of promise here, Rhyton’s debut rarely lives up to it. As artistic vision goes, Rhyton are pointed in the right direction, but they haven’t quite arrived yet.
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Quartet – Sepulcros de Miel
Slint – Spiderland
Tortoise – Millions Now Living Will Never Die