With Vanna, Asking Alexandria, Motionless in White and Tides of Man, 7 p.m. Sunday, July 5, at Java Jazz, 16300 Kuykendahl, 832-295-5077 or www.javajazzcoffeehouse.
A Static Lullaby could be a case study in the question of when a band ceases to be itself. Over its eight-year career, the band's lineup has shifted and morphed so frequently that its composition resembles the amorphous ebb and flow of a lava lamp. Like that globular icon, though, there's also a strong element of cohesion that lends continuity to the mess. In ASL's case, the unifying force is its split vocal attack, poised halfway between the throat-shredding assault of classic hardcore acts like Minor Threat and the lush, almost plaintive crooning of latter-day emo-inspired groups like Jimmy Eat World. Rather than lending a schizophrenic edge to the band's sound, this vocal dichotomy acts as an anchor, providing both stability and a bit of room for ebb and sway. When the rhythm section gets a bit too thrashy, the mascara-wearing, tear-stained side faces front, rounding out the edges. On the flip side, the snarling brutality of a bit of screamo assault is just the ticket when the band gets a bit too in touch with its inner 13-year-old girl.
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