Review of the Black and White Years

Music Reviews

If the Black and White Years’ eponymous 2008 debut was expertly indebted to its producer, Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison, then the local quartet unveils its own signature with follow-up Patterns. From the heavy, electro pulse and jabbing vox of intoxicating opening salvo “Up!,” B&WYs pound heavily on Yeasayer’s indie imprimatur, yet diced through a New Wave tremor they continue to surf. Nothing else on Patterns quite reaches the heights of “Up!,” but there are plenty of other directions the band navigates effectively across 13 tracks, from the gritty beats of “Animal Behaviors” to chilled come down “Unwritten.” “Cold” shivers like synth-addled Grizzly Bear, and the title track ornaments a 1980s dance floor, its aggressive rhythms helping balance Scott Butler’s twisting lyricism. More a patchwork than the finely threaded tapestry of its predecessor, Patterns nonetheless displays a growth of self-definition that serves the Black & White Years well.

by Doug Freeman

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