Chicago's Statistician tells a claustrophobic tale of murder and isolation with pounding, shrieking, pummeling fury.
In the suburbs, every house tends to look the same. You could live next to someone for decades and never really know what's going on behind the front door. While this suburban darkness is not a new source for commentary or criticism - as it's been touched on from everything to David Lynch's Blue Velvet to The Ice Storm to The Virgin Suicides, we all know there are serpents living in the suburbs.
Idle Hands tells the story of Joseph and Josephine Kestian, whose lives erupted in violence and tragedy on Oct. 26, 2010, when Josephine was strangled to death by her son Joseph. Statistician's singer, Andrew Pohl, lived next door to the Kestians, and was asked to help sort through the rubble of the tragedy. The Kestians turned out to be a little bit of hoarders, as well as harboring homicidal intentions, and Pohl was left to sort through the psychic debris in what he described as "one of the heaviest experiences of his life."
Statistician turned to music to process what they'd seen. Idle Hands, a short, confrontational six-track EP, is the result.
Statistician plays a particularly leaden form of post-hardcore, which is to say that high, shrieking, cathartic vocals and aggressive, speed-balling percussion gives way to mighty muscular metal breakdowns, like a wall of stacked cardboard boxes coming down on your head.
Andrew Pohl sticks mostly to the yowling, pained hardcore scream, which beautifully channels the psychic sludge of the Kestians, but can be a bit difficult to listen to, after a while. It's fitting for the subject matter, and no more abrasive than any black metal; it's just shrill and shrieking as an aerial drone, setting your teeth on edge after a time, like a dinner of 9-volt batteries.
Pohl's lyrics pry into the inner worlds of the Kestians, which means that occasionally, you can pick out the hardcore vocals intoning, "I painted the garage / I planted the garden," amusingly banal observations on a life you'll never understand, delivered in the style of pathos and id.
Statistician is bringing an interesting mix of different styles and a unique, personal touch to their metal/hardcore hybrid. This is to be applauded, as the emo/post-hardcore/metal continuum has a lot of rich ore to be mined, but it tends to attract blind followers, who do nothing to push the form forward.
For anyone who digs some of the early post-hardcore gems like Botch and Cave-In, you'll dig the hell out of Statistician. Idle Hands is a great break-out EP, showing their range and musical talent on a difficult subject matter. Like houses in the suburbs, punk-influenced bands might all look the same on the outside, but you have to inspect the foundations and the crawlspaces to find the real deal.
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