Forget Cassettes – Instruments of Action (Theory 8 Records)

forget-cassettesForget Cassettes was born from the ashes of Fair Verona when guitarist/vocalist Beth Cameron and drummer Doni Schroader decided to push on in a more adventurous direction. For some time the duo has been a hot commodity live. The fact that he’s often drumming with one hand and playing lines on a Rhodes electric piano with the other makes Doni’s ferocious drumming more spectacular. Beth’s tiny frame belies the angst she’s capable of projecting both through her voice and guitar.

If anything, Forget Cassettes first full-length Instruments Of Action (out now on Theory 8 Records) is a refutation of the premise that such dynamic bands are impossible to capture on tape. Instruments of Action not only catches the energy the band gives off live, but also gives the band the space to explore their minimal instrumentation.

In the title track, one can hear the room noise around the drums and guitar. As a result, Beth’s voice sounds as if she’s standing right in front of you. And while Ms. Rhythm and Blues exudes a definite Sleater-Kinney influence in its rhythm and voice, A Legacy’s Demise pushes the band into their own undiscovered territory – winding guitar lines and electric piano around a haunting, quiet voice. Bruce Wayne begins with a chilling scream proving Beth’s voice is the sort of expressive instrument for which most bands would kill.

Every song on the record benefits from complex, twisting arrangements that frustrate the verse, chorus, verse standard. This and the band’s ability to switch from quiet meditation to full-on rock riff show off the band’s careful musicianship and will to make rock music just as complicated and expressive as the subjects of their lyrics.

[This piece originally appeared in The Rage.]