Grooms' excellent new album, Prom, is quintessential "indie rock" in a time when that term has lost much of its meaning. Grooms find touchstones in the best of the last three decades, building a narrative that ranges from Sonic Youth layers of noise to jagged Dischord post-hardcore. While Grooms obviously hold their influences dear, Prom never feels like pastiche, partly due to the inventiveness of tracks like album standout “Tiger Trees,” which gives a hat-tip to progenitors while mixing in disparate left-field elements. At the core of "Tiger Trees" is a fuzzy, digitized crunch that propels the track forward from beneath layers of swirling guitar. (An aside: While writing this track review, I had a friend listen to the first 15 seconds of “Tiger Trees” and asked him to describe the sound. His answer: “Band of Horses meets Megaman X.”) As the track evolves, the melody swirls and shifts with an entropic precision that recalls Andorra-era Caribou. Whether “Tiger Trees” sounds like an 8-bit boss battle, psych experiment, or Pacific Northwest-indie homage is beside the point; as with all their best songs, Grooms have created a song that is uniquely their own.
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