Tyvek – On Triple Beams

In a season when labels stock shelves with market-friendly releases primed to capitalize on what’s left of holiday music budgets, In The Red has engaged in a glorious act of counter-programming. They’ve chosen to respond with arty, messy blasts of idiot savantry that strike the perfect chord. Last November it was Wounded Lion, and this year – almost to the day – comes the latest from Detroit’s even noisier Tyvek.

Depending on how you count, On Triple Beams might be Tyvek’s third or fifth album. And the quartet shows little sign of cleaning up its act, although a band that seems dedicated to exploring the infinite possibilities of Wire’s “Mr. Suit” probably isn’t too concerned with progression. I’d be hard pressed to tell you if it’s better or worse than 2010’s wonderful Nothing Fits, or even to place the two in a logical sequence. But On Triple Beams is certainly no letdown.

Arguably Tyvek scratches the same hooky lo-fi itch as Times New Viking, and both bands started their long-playing lives on Siltbreeze. But whereas that latter trio looks to Pavement and the Clean for solace, these Detroit homies have the Stooges and MC5 coursing through their veins. After opening with a series of staccato blasts, frontman Kevin Boyer waits until the album’s back half to uncork his best one-two punch of tunes yet. “Wayne County Roads” is an awesome three-chord stomp with an irresistible shout-along chorus, and “Midwest Basements” churns through 80 seconds of mechano-riffage before launching into unbridled, celebratory garage punk. If you weren’t already convinced Detroit had begun its renaissance, the joyous energy of these tracks will have you contemplating a move to the Motor City for cheap rehearsal space. And heck, it’s only a three-hour drive around Lake Erie from the midwest basement to Cleveland and Pere Ubu’s avant garage.

On Triple Beams is hardly music for sipping eggnog with Nana (if you’re having a holiday party for which it’s a fitting soundtrack, please call me), but gritty, iconoclastic records this good never go out of season.

On Triple Beams
[In The Red]