Monday, October 10, 2011

Aan 'Footlooses' Boise

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Portland, Ore., indie-pop group Aan, which played two shows in Boise (Neurolux and a house show) over the weekend, is something of an exercise in contradiction.

Though sporting a standard two guitars, bass and drums rock setup, the group didn't bother with the standard trappings of the sound. Dissonant arpeggios and wailing vocals moved seamlessly to spacey Radiohead-esque pop interludes with washes of guitar floating over the chord changes carried by the bass.

Aan somehow managed to feel both sparse and layered, ordered and chaotic, pop and yet dissonant. Even the rhythms seemed to represent opposite values as the staccato pulses of bass laid four on the floor, while the drums made a conscious effort to pick two of them back up, by accenting "the Footloose beats," those that forbid dancing.

The contradictions even extended to the band's membership, as it is such a sonic departure from its previous projects. Aan is far less cluttered than bass player Reese Lawhon's previous project, Avery Bell, and less sonically sprawling than drummer Jon Lewis's previous project, Housefire, with each instrument and section given room to create rather than bleeding into one another through reverbs and echoes.

But despite the seeming checklist of opposites, it comes together cleanly as a united sound. The layered back-up vocals of the musicians in the band other than principal singer Bud Lewis were an especially nice touch.

After Boise, the band is making its way south for a string of shows in California. But Aan will come back, and the group is worth checking out when it does.

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