It’s always a happy time when a record you really enjoy drops.
Here we are taking a look at Armer L’Harmonie, which is the third full length from Chicago’s Airstream Futures. Chances are that maybe you encountered this 4-piece when they toured the UK a few years back. At that point, Graeme from Little Rocket Records invited me along to the Leeds show to interview them. You can check that interview out here.
Anyways, four years have gone by, so a quick reminder… Airstream Futures feature members of The Bomb, The Methadones, Her Head’s On Fire, All Eyes West and about 6 million other bands (possibly a conservative estimate) that guitarist Jeff Dean plays in. Vocalist Devon Carson hadn’t been in a rock band of any kind prior to Airstream Futures.
It’s fair to say that Airstream Futures sound as vital as ever on this latest release. Jeff’s heavily textured wall of sound style of guitar playing adds a rich backdrop here (think Bob Mould, with a slab of John Haggerty of Pegboy / Naked Raygun fame). It comfortably drapes over a robust skeleton of self-assured, sharp tub thumping from Mike Soucy (ever hear those drummers that time their hits so well that each beat falls at the last split second? You know get that worry for the teeniest instant with each beat that isn’t gonna land? It’s exhilarating, mate).
Katie Karpowicz’s bass playing underpins the whole structure. Similar to Mike, there’s a real strong sense of self-assurance in the playing style. I mean, sounding driven and casual at the same time? How do you even do that? Great sense of timing and rhythm I would guess. There’s elements of vintage Breeders and Smashing Pumpkins in there somewhere, caught up in some arty tumble with yer classic mid-West emo greats.
The crowning element is Devon’s vocal. I really enjoy a strong female vocal, me. In the current climate, Devon’s is one of my favourites: big, rich, vibrant, and evoking ennui with grand panache. Pitch your imaginings somewhere around Tanya Donnelly (Belly, The Breeders), Alison Mosshart (Discount) and Caithlin de Marais (Rainer Maria) and you won’t be far off.
If, like me, you enjoy a decent bit of the good stuff in terms of proper emo, melodic punk and angsty indie rock, then I don’t think you can go far wrong with this. I posted this record on my Instagram the other week, describing it as “kinda like a superb dust-off between Naked Raygun, Discount and Belly”. I’ll stand by that one, I think!