My first exposure to Rebreather, from Youngstown Ohio (right across the state border from here via the turnpike), was August 2013 in neighboring Kent Ohio — where they performed at that summer’s Blackout Cookout.
Unfortunately no images survive from that performance, because all my show photos were stored on a Facebook account which no longer exists. But it was a pretty eventful day, where roughly a dozen different bands alternated sets on stages at opposite ends of the venue. Rebreather closed out the night, at which point we were all so completely exhausted and dead to the world, that we could hardly even focus on what was happening. But damn. Even now, eight years later, I can still remember badly wanting to hit the road to get back home, but being sucked in and transfixed by the abject heaviness emanating from that stage.
Luckily, I would eventually see the band multiple times in Pittsburgh and Ohio, so at least once or twice got to experience them while fully awake and slightly more lucid. Anyway, fast-forwarding to 2021, the band has just put out a brand-new record that any fans of noise-rock or grunge or fuzz or post-rock should have on their wish list for Santa!
Rebreather – The Line, Its Width, and the War Drone (Aqualamb Records, 03 December 2021)
Rebreather – Pets / Orange Crush (Aqualamb Covid Covers Series, 03 April 2021)
Despite its punny title referencing 1950s children’s literature, The Line, Its Width, and the War Drone tends to run the gamut of the 1990s alternative rock world. The overall pacing of the LP isn’t too far off from something like Nevermind in that it alternates between faster and slower songs, louder and quieter bits.
We’ve got the grungier, Melvinsy intense hardcore yelling represented in “Sick Sick Sick” and “Choke on It.” Then there’s “It Comes in Threes” and “Silent H” which are each a bit slower (but still fuzzy and heavy), and feature mostly echoey clean singing. The feedbacky “Residual Madness” with its bass-heavy riffage is slower yet, while closer “Just Once” is extremely low-key, very chill fuzz/grunge vibes.
Somewhere amidst all that is “Drown,” which starts off as another slow, echoey downer (featuring fellow eastern Buckeye State residents Frayle on additional vocals and instrumentation), while the chorus parts are hella loud and heavy and distorted, bringing back the yelling once more. Just like the old Pixies formula.
Also featured on the album is a very chill, echoey, laidback groove-laden rendition of Porno for Pyros‘ “Pets” — only available on the digital edition, but no worries, since a purchase of the vinyl includes a free Bandcamp download (and also, apparently, a 100-page supplemental book as an added bonus!) This song had initially been released this past spring as part of Aqualamb‘s covers series; the B-side to this single release was an oversaturated, fuzzed-out and overdriven reimagining of R.E.M.‘s late-80s classic “Orange Crush.” Both are still available for streaming or downloading at Bandcamp.
* * * * * * *