Gray matter 

Catamount evokes color with sound

Listening to Catamount makes me think in terms of color. The Missoula band's new EP, Divebomber, has a sound like a gray sky contrasted with flocks of black birds and a white sun. Sometimes, when the saxophone comes in, you can imagine shiny yellow sun spots flickering through the stark landscape. It's a winter afternoon on a Sunday in a dirty, piebald city. In other words, there isn't much variation in the mood of this three-song post-rock collection, but it makes an impression that you can dig if you patiently let it wash over you.

You would hear something like this EP if you cross-pollinated The Smiths and Beirut. And maybe if you added a DNA strand of Silkworm. There's a general detachment in Brady Schwertfeger's vocals that breaks into yearning during the harmonizing choruses. This is music you could dance to in a deadpan, New Wave kind of way; the wisps of electronica and bending riffs keep the tone from feeling too contemplative.

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  • Dillon Jenkins

It's easy to pick up on the fact that Catamount is made up of music students. Mathy riffs, odd time signatures and general composition reveal a band whose musical education probably began with classical and jazz before the members delved into indie rock. It's kind of cool to hear a band that's so learned in composition because it makes you aware of how musicians build songs. There isn't much rawness here—and sometimes that's the pitfall of an academic approach to music. But the EP does create a coherent impressionistic work with just enough depth and color to spark genuine emotion.

Catamount plays an EP release show at Free Cycles Fri., Jan. 31, at 8 PM with Three Eared Dog and Hunter and The Gatherers. All ages. $5 suggested donation.

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