By the End of Tonight/Tera Melos

Alvin's By the End of Tonight teams with Californians Tera Melos for this adventurous, eclectic split LP.

Between Motion Turns It On's Rima, Bring Back the Guns' Dry Futures and By the End of Tonight's half of split LP A Complex Full of Phantoms, southeast Texas officially has a true prog scene. Where MTIO thrives on texture and improvisation, Alvin's BTEOT aims to break the riff-density scale, assembling bits of Don Caballero, the Mercury Program, Dillinger Escape Plan and the Fucking Champs into musical structures as tight as a monkey's fist. Their unrelenting intensity and playful refusal to repeat anything at all can make BTEOT difficult to digest, but their songs' construction — impossible to predict yet effortlessly, indubitably logical — reveals a subtle, powerful intelligence. That's good prog in a nutshell. Yet even BTEOT are surpassed in capriciousness on Phantoms' second half by California genre-jumpers Tera Melos, who sound like Hella or the Cancer Conspiracy one minute — drummer Vince Rogers even pulls off a decent imitation of Hella's Zach Hill — and the Postal Service or Menomena the next. Although Tera Melos lack BTEOT's sense of purpose and flow, they are invigoratingly adventurous; their unannounced jumps from jazzy math-rock to mellow indie-rock to full-on electronic dance music may induce sonic whiplash in some listeners. Best is their emo/math-rock fusion of "Last Smile for Jaron," a welcome update of a subgenre largely abandoned since the late '90s.

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