The Ebb and Flow
with FOMA and Babelshack
By Laura Marrich
Tuesday, July 26; Burt's Tiki Lounge (21 and over): When I first heard San Francisco's The Ebb and Flow I thought, now here is a band that travels well. As in, I'd like to take this album on a long car trip, possibly at night, through the Arizona desert. Maybe it's because their first full-length album is called Time to Echolocate and depicts bats in flight on the front cover. After all, bats are nocturnal creatures that fly long distances through the desert. But I don't think it's as simple as all that. There's something far less tangible in there, and it keeps propelling me down the same phantom mental freeway. Take the first track off of Time to Echolocate, "Sonorous." It glides for nearly 10 minutes; first plodding, skipping then running, then on to a full gallop through a forest of moogs and organ, guitar, strings and jazzy drum change-ups. The band itself travels light, with only three members to split between two vocal parts and a tight, diverse instrumentation that somehow manages to sound simple and loose. It's like a trompe l'oeil of the ear. Which I guess makes sense in the whole bat-scheme of things, because that's exactly what sonar and echolocation is all about—using sound for sight. Give them a listen and see where it takes you.
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