Asterisk ("*")

Nov 21, 2001 at 12:00 am

I don’t think it’s selling Triangle short to say that the band comes on like Mouse on Mars and lingers like Built to Spill. Because between these two indie-rock poles lies a vast landscape of familiar-yet-reworked turf, and the two indie “proles” of Triangle do their best to map it out while not giving their exact coordinates and still riding the New Wave.

Triangle is Amanda Warner (bass, keyboards, vocals) and Brian Tester (guitar, keyboards, programmed sounds and vocals). The two craft and knock out tunes that quiver between buoyant, retro-futurist electronics and downtrodden Midwestern winter introspection. It’s all a bit insular, but bursting to get out nevertheless. The duo dwells on the edge of sing-song looking in with a cynical eye (ear?). Tackling structure and sonics like monks at a smorgasbord, Warner and Tester taste, nibble and indulge in bits of musical comfort food. But their distant lyrical delivery gives a clue that they’re not necessarily buying it. In fact, if there’s a downside to * it’s that the carefully crafted, not-so-obtusely body-political lyrics get buried under sonic ephemera. Or maybe it’s that they’re not ready to shout it. Or maybe it’s just the ever-pesky “production values.” Pretension without artifice, roll without rock, insight without passion — it’s a long row to hoe, but for the most part Triangle makes it (mostly) work. Keep your fingers crossed that Warner and Tester find their voices before they find grad school.

E-mail Chris Handyside at [email protected].