The art for Confluence’s single “Awaiting” looks sort of like the famous Japanese woodcut “The Great Wave,” scrambled and assembled into a chaotic collage. It’s an apt metaphor for the Denver-based band’s music, which hits the ear in sonic buildup, crest and crash. Like a lot of math rock, a single, short Confluence song—three recent singles all clock in under 4:45—can have several tempos and feels. The effect is to turn the whole band into a rhythm section: Every instrument falls into place and helps keep time.
In the opening section of “Awaiting,” the drums seem to trip over the guitar and bass lines, tap out ingenious rhythms as they accelerate toward the ground, then catch themselves at the last moment, ready to keep playing. It’s the sign of a band that’s incredibly tight. Standout single “The Only Thing Constant” is all over the place: It starts with a funk groove. It mutates seamlessly into herky-jerky prog territory. It lands on a palm-muted guitar figure reminiscent of Pinback. All the while, lead singer Ian Gassman’s voice glides above it, repeating the lyrical motif, “A constant sense…,” calm and clear like a cerulean sky above churning waves.
Confluence plays the Palace Fri., Aug. 22, along with FUULS and Catamount. Doors at 9 PM. $7/$5 advance. 18-plus.