When I first played this album, a friend asked, "What is this avant-garde hipster trash you're listening to?" I consider myself an outsider, someone who likes things outside the mainstream. But my indie mentality was wounded, even though I'd never even heard of These Are Powers before, and I'm no fan of noise rock or no wave or whatever you'd call this. Unfortunately, I was unable to defend this...spastic, electronic noise that was coming out of my computer speakers.
Jump back to the fall semester of 2008. After playing new indie rock music on my show every week, I started to get sick of it. I must have played and/or heard every new band that's had a smidge of indie rock cred, and it all started to sound the same. Though I looked to other genres for new music or something different (folk, electro pop, punk rock), I was still dissatisfied. I was sick of traditional vocals and lyrics, choruses and bridges, sequencing and chord progressions. Nothing was memorable anymore, nothing stuck out.
Enter All Aboard Future. Glitchy electronic beats and short bursts of vocals characterize the early tracks that I like best. There are melodies in the sense of pitches moving up and down, but very little you'll be able to hum as you walk down the street. Songs like opener “Easy Answers” feature many rhythms, sounds, and noises at the same time, all marching along to a thick beat that won't make you dance, but will have you bobbing your head. It's “noise rock,” I guess, but not a wall of unlistenable noise, like Mind Flayer.
The album goes from the slightly melodic and almost catchy (“Easy Answers”, “Double Double Yolk”) to the more experimental later on (“Light After Sound”, “Sand Tassels”). This isn't music to put on your next road trip mix CD... unless you're taking a trip to the bottom of the Mariana Trench to go exploring. These Are Powers is more concerned with rhythms, sounds, and space. For me, this album offers a welcome respite from the incessant pop/rock songs of the indie world.