Local trio The Sweaters go the distance with new album ‘Not Again’

The most vital rhythms heard on “Not Again”, the new album by Sweatersare not played by guitar, bass or drums.

Of course, the Columbia Trio of Ben Cohen, Henry Cohen and Anders Harms lock arms, creating compelling jumps and starts and slick indie-rock grooves. But the rhythm that anchors the disc is that of creating – or perhaps, more precisely, of observing – a distance, then of closing it.

Sweater songs often open in a state of cool withdrawal, Henry Cohen’s cloudy, melodic guitar tone and Harms’ dynamic bass set the stage for Ben Cohen’s voice to float like a baritone ghost. Gradually, the tracks inevitably heat up, allowing for distance and echoing rhythms of alienation and connection.

Whether such alienation is caused by the pandemic, the searing uncertainty of love, or the group’s relative youth – and the tracks “Not Again” offer varied readings – The Sweaters faithfully move each song towards something like a resolution. .

In doing so, they claim their share of a legacy – of silence and noise, whisper, then roar – honed by the Pixies and passed down through generations of rock kids.

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“Not Again” opens with “Beauxgart” and the interwoven guitar and bass timbres; the song picks up, becoming more propulsive as Ben Cohen’s vocals and drums enter the mix. The song takes on a mid-tempo form, with pop-up storms of guitar noise playing in the background.

“Cruiser” follows, with feedback tones and Harms’ active bass introducing one of the band’s best choruses to date.

An early standout, “Aquinas: Fishfaced” hears the trio playing from the confines of their tightly coiled sound, gesturing towards creative freedom and growth. Henry Cohen’s inky guitar, often associated with bands such as The Smiths and The Cure, frames these 3 and a half minutes, providing the tension that seeks release.

That moment of letting go comes late as Ben Cohen delivers a floating howl à la The War on Drugsthen digs in to play a series of thunderclap drum rolls.

Elsewhere, first single “Blue Raspberry” sings even more in the context of the record. “Tunnel Under the World” begins with edgy acoustic strums, then features one of the best builds on an album full of them, with the band hovering around Ben Cohen as he sings, “When I Die , finish the movie.

While digging around the idea of ​​everlasting love – whether from God or from a girl – “PATCO” has a big problem in its hook and features heart-pounding riffs from Henry Cohen and Harms.

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Harms’ piano guides perhaps the fullest track here, “Nikko Gardens,” which lives in the tight spaces between bands like The Walkmen and The National. A beautiful melancholy reigns at the heart of the piece, which is first reinforced, then exceeded by Harms’ playing.

Closer album “The Massachusetts Teacher’s Oath” opens with a lonely quavering tone and ends with a full-throated chorus, its layered harmonies sending the song’s strains into the atmosphere.

The Sweaters have grown before Columbia’s ears, growing from a trio of public school kids to sending its second member to college this fall. “Not Again” is the sound of the band doing what they’ve learned to do so well, going all the way to close the gap between potential and fulfillment, promises made and promises kept.

Learn more about The Sweaters and listen to their work on https://thesweaterscomo.bandcamp.com/.

Aarik Danielsen is the Features and Culture Editor for Tribune. Contact him at [email protected] or by calling 573-815-1731. Find him on Twitter @aarikdanielsen.

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