Yukon employs time-signature and pacing shifts that feel almost accidental, as if some universal force—not mortal musicians—was pushing the sound through its odd but logical patterns.
The Baltimore-based band’s debut album begins with “Legsick,” a discordant amalgam of raw bass and stuttering riffs that seems to tear around each corner of the song, jerking the listener along. From there, Mortar fades from guitar-heavy metal to cross-grained jazziness, never letting up on its fast-paced momentum. Denny Bowen’s sparse vocals add mood rather than story, trimming each piece with an almost terrifying texture of defiance and dread. “Mt Pleasant” is one of the most compelling tracks, spliced with minor chord crescendos that continually unify and fall apart like a classically trained musician forgetting his manners. Mortar ends with the gothic lullaby “Pedestrian,” which tumbles and swings toward a culmination of extravagantly ascending scales. Yukon tosses verse-chorus-verse niceties and lets each song spin to its unpredictable end. This is dirty math-rock as you might imagine it, but pulled off with commendable craftiness. (Erika Fredrickson)
Yukon plays The Loft Friday, June 22, at 9 PM. Archaeopteryx and Arrows to the Sun open. $5.