I know the live and open recording is intentional but Time and Energy’s second album, Strange Kind of Focus, gets a little noisy in the studio. It’s kind of hammery on the ears. I wonder if the tracks would reflect the artist better if they were contained but then that kind of kills the edge of experimentalism, huh. Still, Strange Kind of Focus is appropriately named and engaging.
On the track “Hot Air,” I did envision a street party where Cat Stevens would show up with the Gallo wine and weed (this would be before he became a devout Muslim of course), but after a about a minute, that open air bounce got on my nerves. Now I see Usuf Islam explaining his way out of that whole Salman Rushdie fatwah deal and it’s a kind of a bummer.
Even though they seem to be heavily dedicated to not playing into any expectations, this two-piece experimental rock band from Santa Ana, CA are somehow lovely. In fact, Time and Energy is known for this kind of restrained thrash trip sound it seems.
But it’s Jorge Rios’ voice that grabs you. It’s good and just when it promises to be trotting toward the mainstream; you get yanked back by his commitment with Brennan Roach to be what they are. Different. And it’s a difference with a “fuck you” kind of undercurrent. Which is also nice.
Maybe they should experiment with close miking. Maybe I should go screw myself, I’m sure they might suggest.
The video for Hot Air totally bugged me. Guys. You’re talented. You don’t have to do the “I’m on acid and high off film school fumes” video dreck. But I do have to say that the video looks the way the music sounds. So again, maybe this is the point and I can go stuff myself with rocks.
I do like the effect on “Breakdown.” Here, I’m in Neil Young’s back yard and there is a fire. It’s nice. The track is crunchier than a reformed Dead Head and it works.
As I float through Strange Kind of Focus for the third time, I’m in the past and I’m in the here and now simultaneously, bumping along in a van on a wine road and then sitting in the damp grass with friends as a sun goes down near a little town like Ojai.
Or maybe it was Utah.
I’d listen to:
Sitting On a Scale
Listen to all tracks here: http://timeandenergy.bandcamp.com/album/strange-kind-of-focus
Official band site: