Song of the Day

Chimes of Bayonets, “Pardon Me Brother,” from Archiver (2020)

Hailing from Ithaca, the upstate proposition that is Chimes of Bayonets has absolutely usurped my turntable, albeit metaphorically speaking. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have the wax on order not long after pressing “play.”

This past summer’s Archiver 7 inch will likely never find its way into your actual archives, instead ending up in regular rotation.

For a song just south of three minutes, “Pardon Me Brother” runs the gamut from wildly untamed math rock Midwest emo to the noisier end of Dischord Records’ 21st Century output.

I hear touches of Nomeansno, Faraquet, June of 44, Seam, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Jawbox.

Built upon a backbone of riotous and erratic instrumentation, the vocals are expertly laid atop it all. Not so much disaffected as they are distantly engaged, they wail moodily in a way that avoids feeling resigned or aloof.

Though sonically dissimilar, the vocals feel like a deliberate afterthought a la Lungfish. At roughly the midway point there’s a tonal shift that gives the listener the feeling of sinking in whatever lake it was those Slint boys famously swam.

The bass, in particular, morphs into a murky and sinister pattern that weaves expertly around the drums. The whole affair is disorienting in the most glorious way possible.

As if intentionally fleeing from the zeitgeist, there aren’t any actual touchstones that properly summarize Chimes of Bayonets’ scattershot energy.

Much like their vague and poetic moniker, their songs sound like instruments doing battle, albeit patiently. Inadvertently creating art from the tug and pull of their sonic conflict, this band finally gives me a reason to visit the Finger Lakes. 

A bit on their refreshingly sparse Bandcamp. Though I’m clearly no private dick, I could swear I hear the skronk of horns buried deeply in the mix. That could also be due to their clear and intentional cribbing in homage to the cover art from Rocket from the Crypt’s best album.

Color me impressed, if not confused. Additionally, the band’s self-deprecating bio states “A guy at the Nines said we sounded like Jawbox.” Shout out to “guy," because you’re equally as likely to hear whatever you’re looking for in this band. 

Follow the Chimes northward. 

Tagged: chimes of bayonets