Tom Hayes 7-Sep-2006 Simianometry

The crazily titled “Simianometry” (they even misspell it on the spine) is the debut album from Tennessee quartet People of the Squares. Tennessee is also home to Glass Hammer and Somnambulist, so quite an engaging progressive rock scene has blossomed from the Volunteer State in the last decade. The all instrumental PotS features organ extensively, even though it’s most likely a heavily processed modern synthesizer, played within a highly organized, but always changing, metronomic structure. So the first reaction would be to compare this to the old 60’s/70’s Canterbury group Egg. But the heavy guitar (almost metal, but not quite), and overall modern production are clear signals that PotS are a band not operating in pure retro mode. In fact, as the music progresses, the term Math Rock begins to creep in, and it becomes clear a group like Don Caballero certainly has a role in their influence column. At the root of the entire Math Rock scene, one will find “Larks Tongue in Aspic” era King Crimson, so yet another reference to call out. People of the Squares would be the second modern group to have a somewhat Egg-like sound (that I’m familiar with anyway). The other being Steamboat Switzerland. However, Steamboat are far more improvisational in nature, whereas PotS stick close to composed territory, which I personally find more appealing. Two interesting departures of sound are found at the end of the disc. The keyboard tone and style of play for the majority of ‘Nova’ are entirely in jazz flute territory. And the last couple of minutes of the closer ‘Assimilator’ finally lets loose the tension, as the guitarist riffs away in almost thrash metal style. A sound that is highly effective in that context. People of the Squares seem to have vanished without a trace, which is a shame, as their debut was more than promising.

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