The first thing one notices about Bloomington, Indiana’s Rapider Than Horsepower is the band’s dissonant tuning and the complete oddity that is vocalist Mike Anderson. Also the frontman of harder-than-thou Racebannon, Anderson shrills and shrieks like demon, squealing to hit the right notes - voice cracking as it reaches its destination. Although Anderson has very much forged an identifiable and unique singing style, he should also be credited for his range. When doing duty for Racebannon, Anderson sounds pure evil. When fronting the obtuse RTH, however, he sounds like a kid over his head in reckless childish abandon.
The second in a two part series, This Is My Big Night, takes off where last year’s Stage Fright, Stage Fright left off. “I Can’t Survive Without My Beatbox” begins with Anderson exploding into the microphone, then backing off to give a bit of breathing room. The rest of the band follows suit with a cacophony of undistorted guitars and spare drumming. Although they frequently sound like they might run off the tracks, RTH never derail, instead pulling everything together at the last second. Tracks like “Leprechauns, Our Peaceful Leader” and “Especially If It Helps” sound like manipulated guitar scales with improvised lyrics and a chugging rhythm section. While such ambition might quickly become stale in the hands of others, RTH manage to keep things interesting from beginning to end.
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