Journeymen get ready for the real experience. Multitudes is the kind of band that makes the listener loosen their grasp on reality. Their music transcends genre and is best described as transformative. Bending time and space, a song could start psychedelic and dancey. Then it can turn to free jazz, climax as hardcore and settle into a sophisticated noise.
I have always had a strong fondness for three piece bands. A player can stretch out without having to worry about stepping on another player’s turf. This comes with a big responsibility though as each instrument is quite exposed. What makes Multitudes a great trio are their simplicity to approach, the passion they play with and the virtuosity each player brings to the stage. I really admire that drummer Alex Lambert is front and center in Multitudes’ stage set up. He is right where a lead singer would traditionally go. Lambert has rightfully earned that spot as he is a lead drummer in the band. Lambert is an animal, very versed in the trick of making odd meters feel like they are still in four. At times he is delicate, meticulously caressing the under hi-hat cymbal with a stick for example. Other times Lambert’s sticks appear as two fiercely glowing blurs shining across all four drums and two cymbals at the same time! The entire time his demeanor is calm and meditative. Bassist Brian House plays a great bass line in the parts of the songs where he sees fit to. At other times, his bass screams unforgivingly with the aid of guitar pedals, creating a magnificent array of soundscapes and explosions. Guitarist Pat Foley has great tone. I especially like it when he plays melodies with some sort of octave effect on. His chord voicing choice is unique and multi-emotional.
I first saw Multitudes by chance at a loft party in Greenpoint’s Good Yoga. This warm, spacious and well kept performance space was a great place to see Multitudes. There were so many people I could hardly walk through. All around the band there were about half a dozen old fashioned (1980’s) TV’s showing computer distorted images of the performance appeared on their screens as the show went on. It was the perfect effect for Multitudes. I next caught them perform at Death By Audio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The band played great and debuted five new songs. Foley used a slide towards the end of the night creating smoky, drunken like melodies I really enjoyed. These were backed by massively full chords on bass. Death by Audio, on the other hand, is a horribly dilapidated, corner cut club. Despite its makeshift “DIY” vibe, it is devoid of the dive charm of NYC legendary clubs like CBGB. When people said CBGB was a total shit hole it was with a certain nostalgic charm. I personally have many fond memories of the club with no bathroom doors. I felt no such charm at Death By Audio, though I have to say the staff was very nice.
Multitudes released their first record, Ontogeny earlier this year. I briefly sat down with Brian House who told me they plan to go into the studio this winter to record the five songs they debuted at Death By Audio along with seven more to make a 12 song record. The new record, slated for release in Spring 2011, will feature short form songs with more of the band’s punk tendencies compared to the more conceptual Ontogeny. House also hinted at a tentative plan for the band to leave New York for a bit this winter and share their highly original sound with some other cities. Please check out multitudesband.com for tour updates as well as info on their upcoming 2nd studio release.