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Music

AgesandAges

Rock

Portland OR

507

Listen

No Nostalgia

AgesandAges is not a cult. Sure, the seven-piece Portland group exudes enough electric joy that it often feels like a big tent revival. And sure, one finds oneself using church words to describe the band’s sound: A powerful, life-affirming and exploratory blend of lessons learned from bands like the Kinks, XTC, and War—all set ablaze with a buoyant, unbridled optimism. And yeah, there are frequent lyrical references to voluntary seclusion, communal living and an existence “under the radar” littered throughout the band’s debut, Alright You Restless. In fact, all ten of the album’s tracks examine the idea of seceding from the oppressive daily grind. But there’s a key difference between this Portland seven-piece and cult bands like Father Yod’s Yahowa 13 or even the similarly joyous Polyphonic Spree: AgesandAges invites you into its ranks. In live performance, as gorgeous vocal harmonies rise victoriously to refuse the skepticism and irony that terrorize our daily lives, the venue becomes the commune, and the audience is given an opportunity to lower its guard. Everybody sings and everybody shares in the ecstatic energy that sets AgesandAges apart from most of its less vibrant Northwest contemporaries. See, the Northwest isn't known for its enthusiasm. For all the marketing ploys and misconceptions born in the grunge era, some stereotypes are correct: There really are a lot of frowning concertgoers who stand, unmoving with arms crossed, at the back of the room during their favorite band's shows. "Portland is sort of a shoulder-shrug vortex,” says AgesandAges frontman Tim Perry. “It’s a ‘whatever’ culture.” Perry’s old band, Pseudosix, was—despite a great deal of talent and a constant, low-level buzz—often greeted with that famous Northwest apathy. So, when the band closed shop, Perry took a logical next step: He started AgesandAges, a project that couldn’t be ignored. And while bolts of inspiration are a dime a dozen, AgesandAges has transformed Perry’s into a forest fire. What must have felt, at first, like a dare or a gimmick—forming a band so earnest and heart-on-sleeve that any jaded soul within its gravitational pull would be disarmed and physically moved—has become a full-on mission statement. This indomitable spirit (a “near-militant positivity,” as Portland Monthly put it), combined with the band’s considerable chops, have been enough to make the AgesandAges a hometown favorite poised for national success. Amazingly, the band found a way to translate its stomping, relentless live show seamlessly to disc, as well. Recorded in 8 days with producer Kevin Robinson (Viva Voce, Blue Giant) at Amore!phonics, Perry says AgesandAges’ secret was keeping things live. The band avoided overdubs as much as possible; performing its songs as a full unit and singing together into a shared microphone. The resulting record sounds alternately sharp (the explosive, riff-packed opener, “No Nostalgia”; the complex, twisting “These Elbows”) and warm (the exotic and haunting “The Peaks”; the slow-building “When I Was Idle”), with the band’s rich percussive elements weaving into the campfire pop strums of acoustic guitar and graceful flourishes of strings and piano. In AgesandAges quiet moments, Perry often leads the way—but there’s no mistaking that the group uses every member to his or her fullest: The most rewarding result being the layered vocal harmonies that comprise the backbone of AgesandAges’ timeless sound. It’s a sonic landscape that’s as big or as little as it needs to be, shifting effortlessly from intimate to elaborate. It only takes one listen to hear that Alright You Restless is one of the strongest debut albums to come out of the Northwest in quite some time. AgesandAges didn’t start as a cult, but there’s a pretty good chance it’ll grow into one.

Time

Friday March 18

8:00PM

Venue

Rusty Spurs

405 E. 7th St.

Online

agesandages.com

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