Anatomy Of The Eye

Excellent avant-rock from Trinary System on Lights In The Center Of Your Head (FEEDING TUBE RECORDS FTR452). This is the latest project of Roger Miller from Mission Of Burma who has had a musical career which is hard to believe, involving Destroy All Monsters, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, and of course the Sproton Layer album from 1970 (a prime piece of American progressive rock). The trio here is drummer Larry Dersch (who was also the other half of Binary System in the 1990s with Miller), and P. Andrew Willis who plays bass, synths, and sings…

I know Mission Of Burma were not to everyone’s taste at the time, often dismissed as too noisy, too clever, or too arty (I’m still trying to understand their records to this day), and if Miller has a fault it might be that listeners don’t find him quite “direct” enough, lacking the force of contemporary bands like Butthole Surfers or Dinosaur Jr, even. Lights In The Center Of Your Head probably isn’t the album to convince those non-believers, but I’m enjoying it just fine. What might appear to be a conventional rock surface sound soon reveals that Miller has a highly inventive approach to song construction and guitar playing (he always did), and it’s to his credit he makes these complex guitar moves seem effortless, natural. It helps that he has a strong drummer to lean on and evidently built up quite the rapport with Dersch – there’s a live album from 1997 on SST which looks intriguing, though it’s Miller on keyboards not guitar.

Most of the songs here contain sneaky concealed experiments with tricksy rhythms that would defeat many tanglefoots, yet Miller in 2019 mode is not in thrall to the over-complex time signatures of progressive music (as some of his European counterparts might be). Favourite cut here is ‘Infinity In A Box’, which is a glorious mix of psychedelic harmonies, chugging Neu-like rhythms, and “fluid” guitar lines that amaze and astound, all in the surface of a mystical road-movie song that Wim Wenders would have loved to borrow for one of his films. I would file this alongside the recent-ish MX-80 Sound LP on this label, evidence that Byron Coley continues to support the bands he loved in the 1990s…this is a solid piece of all-American post-punk art rock of a high order. From 27th June 2019.

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