Now that the Eighties is the most vogue decade for musicians to rehash, droves of new bands have adopted the post-punk sound. But few have successfully channeled its spirit of maladjustment — except for local quartet Synthetic ID. With its debut album, Apertures, the group continues on its trajectory that began with the release of a demo tape and seven-inch EP last year, earning it substantial buzz that was boosted by its live shows.
While a lot of modern post-punk bands digress into atmospherics and moody dawdling, Synthetic ID is assertive and fiercely present. Jake Dudley's sinuous and trebly guitar riffs are the obvious musical focal point, but Paul Lucich's circular bass grooves effectively reinforce the general unruliness, and each track is propelled by crisp, eighth-note-centric drum beats. Never saturated or clamorous, the production on the recording is sparse — a vital element to Synthetic ID's sound: The clarity and space between each instrument actually maximizes the neurotic mood. All the while, vocalist Nic Lang's monotonous shout provides an ideal counterpoint to the otherwise volatile sounds.
While other post-punk groups convey only a vague sense of moodiness, Synthetic ID conjures a distinctly urban sense of alienation. It reflects the restlessness of a world in which buildings become towering predators and commuter crowds signify impending doom. It's a difficult theme to express, but Apertures encapsulates it perfectly. (1-2-3-4 Go!)