by Ethan Swan


Sat Jan 17


The original post-punk explosion, and today's revival, can be quickly reduced to a structure--a model to build a song on. This structure depends on a basic disparity of sound: the solid, post-disco rhythm, versus raging, uncontrollable noise. While the drums and bass work together on a steady pattern, the guitar and vocals run all over it like a child purposely coloring outside the lines. It's what makes the more forgettable bands from the late '70s sound derivative and what will damn the fakers of today. In a few years it may sound as boring and formulaic as the quiet-loud-quiet-LOUD sound of the early '90s. The problem, is we're all recklessly riding this train as if we don't see that unmistakable brick wall up ahead. And the bands are the worst culprits of all.

But there are bands superficially related to this scene doing much more interesting things, bands that sound as if they actually listen to each other. The dynamic, tangled songs of Wikkid wouldn't be possible without that sort of attention. Guitars soar, stutter and screech around one another like air-show daredevils, affecting a danger that keeps everyone transfixed. It's impossible to pluck any one sound out in search of a backbone; rather, it's the combined forces that create a structure. Despite the lack of a familiar framework, Wikkid's songs are full of motion and freedom. This achievement has sometimes been lazily referred to as "prog"--an indication of how not ready people are.

Although Wikkid are a relatively new band, this movement has been stirring for awhile. One of Wikkid's three guitarists plays in the duo Touchdown, whose hypnotic style inspires openmouthed staring. That same dumbfounded gesture has been seen at countless Orthrelm shows--whose guitarist, Mick Barr, is releasing Wikkid's debut CD on his label Vothoc. That these bands are all working together is a sign that brighter days may be ahead. If structure is going to be the death of the last "big thing," then by surpassing formula, Wikkid insures their own victory.