You Will See A Looming Figure
What rock band’s rhythm section hasn’t fantasized about a project like this? No lead singer. No guitar player. Just a bassist and a drummer, wailing on their instruments, freed from the limitations of timekeeping. On its latest EP, the Portland duo Toothbrush embraces this formula with little regard for rock norms. Each of these exquisitely titled tracks (I’ll check out anything that’s called “Grotesque Inaccuracies from Religious Figures”) is a lo-fi mini jam session, a brief glimpse into what bassist Sean Ahern and drummer Chris Gervais get up to before the rest of the band shows up for practice. The EP clocks in at under seven minutes, so there’s little chance of this ramshackle experiment wearing out its welcome. Who knows what would happen if Ahern’s distorted pentatonics got more room to breathe? Here, they contain the promise of a basement-punk-show iteration of Black Sabbath, where thundering, deceptively simple riffs are thrown into overdrive by a drummer who suddenly doesn’t have to be an anchor for anybody. The audio is of demo-cassette quality, which isn’t exactly a bad thing – it adds to the overall mystique. But You Will See A Looming Figure is still too rough around the edges to qualify as a must-listen. It could very well be a seeing stone, giving us a glimpse at a thunderous triumph to come, full of songs that live up to the loftiness of their titles.