Thurs Feb 5
More than any band you'll hear described as jittery, Numbers has got post-millennial neuroses on lock. The SF-based trio named their just-released record In My Mind All the Time. It's not necessarily a touching paean to a lover, but a thesis statement of paranoia, on a record containing songs about airborne disease, head trauma, the agonizing trudge of time, the requirement of fake happiness in minimum-wage jobs, and the insatiable fixation of A. materialism and B. seeing every show played by every band in the world, ever.
But, as with predecessors such as Devo and the trio's own back catalogue, Numbers address such issues with a combination of frantic minimalism and falling-down-a-chasm glee. Their politics, almost Howard Hughesian in obsession, are spat in tandem (by drummer Indra Dunis, guitarist Dave Broekema, Moog-ist Eric Landmark), a monosyllabic delivery in playful upper ranges, concepts driven home in exclamation points. Numbers use language in broad strokes, singing "I can do anything I want!" and "I have product lust!" like caricatures of Stepford Americans, a robotic malfunction. Then they scrub it clean, including a maniacally simple climax of Mickey Mouse Club-style roll call ("I'm Indra!" "Dave!" "Eric Landmark! We're Numbers! It's true!") over a pre-programmed Casio beat that degenerates into a firebomb of jerking keyboards.
Currently the cream of the Tigerbeat6 label (and with last year's Death, which featured remixes by such IDM luminaries as Kit Clayton and DAT Politics), Numbers have more ties to the electronic/experimental end of the dance scene than any of their punky contemporaries. But the band, still wound tight with rhythmic Moog/Buzzerk synth, blasts of guitar, and disco drumming, experiments within their own music on In My Mind, even slipping in a meditative, pretty drone piece (called "Feelings") amid all the staccato-punched herky jerky and Tourette's punk-funk. And oh, how funky--sublime Moog parts deliver dancefloor basslines with the same isolated snaps of motion as pops and locks. If everything looks like a program or a microchip from SF and Silicon Valley, Numbers predict MyDoom and dance right into it.